S. Nathaniel Adams

Documenting history as well as my experiences with repairing and restoring vintage guitars.

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 About William H. DeWick was born on December 15th, 1869 in Port Jefferson, New York to George and Aimee DeWick. His early life is unclear b...

 About

William H. DeWick was born on December 15th, 1869 in Port Jefferson, New York to George and Aimee DeWick. His early life is unclear but being raised by a sailor must've imposed a level of discipline on William. Around 1896 he was working as a manager for George Clifton Dobson, son of the famed banjo manufacturer, in Brooklyn.

1896 Advertisement
Image Credit: Google Books

By 1900, he had married his wife Ruth and was working as a music teacher [1]. In 1910, he was a listed in the census as a manufacturer of musical instruments and a year later appeared in the Directory of Music Industries under both 'banjo' and 'guitars and mandolins'. His address was listed as 6 Halsey Street [2][3].

In 1922, William patented a banjo with a back cover and "sounding board" as well as a neck attachment mechanism for the same instrument.

Patent 1681148
Image Credit: Google Patents

Patent 1567359
Image Credit: Google Patents

He continued to work as an instrument maker through the 1930s and by the 1940 census had taken on a new occupation as a house painter [4][5]. Perhaps it was a change of pace 




 Sources

[1] 1900 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7602/images/4114534_00349?pId=48572985
[2] 1910 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7884/images/4449833_01024?pId=17709524
[3] Directory of Music Industries - https://www.google.com/books/edition/Directory_of_Music_Industries/hMkwAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=dewick%20
[4] 1930 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6224/images/4661128_00846?pId=122745017
[5] 1940 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/m-t0627-02686-00367?pId=6633697


About Louis Sutz was born in Friedrichsthal, Baden-Württemberg, Germany on June 17th, 1862 to parents Peter and Carolina. He moved to the Un...

About

Louis Sutz was born in Friedrichsthal, Baden-Württemberg, Germany on June 17th, 1862 to parents Peter and Carolina. He moved to the United States in 1880 and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio[1]. By 1882, was living at 530 John Street with Fred and Fred Jr Sutz who were blacksmiths [4]. Four years later he was married to his wife Philomena and working as a "body maker" while living at 614 Central Avenue [3]. In 1891, he was now listed as a woodworker living at 341 Clifton Avenue [2].

1904 map with Sutz's shop located at the corner of Huber and Vine
The building was demolished and is currently a parking lot
Image Credit: Cincinnati Library Sanborn Map

In 1895, he entered the musical instrument business and moved into 1616 Vine Street [5]. The 1900 census lists Louis as a music dealer while the 1910 census lists him as a music instructor [6][7]. In the 1920 census, Louis is a repairman of musical instruments and in 1930 is listed simply as the owner of a music store [8][9]. He had retired by the 1940 census [10]

Labels

Four different label designs have shown up on the internet however we do not have a date range for the use of any of them. 

I would wager this is one of his earliest labels
Image Credit: Mandolin Cafe user - Jim Garber - Found on a defunct Korean website

Image Credit: Invaluable.com

Image Credit: Invaluable.com

Same design now in gold text on blue paper
Image Source: Mandolin Cafe User - Andy G

Instruments

As Louis' label explains, he made violins, mandolins, guitars, zithers, and likely other instruments if a customer requested. I'm having a hard time locating his factory, its entirely possible it was at 1616 Vine Street but the Sanborn map company was usually pretty good about documenting manufacturing in their maps and they mention nothing in the 1904 map.

I believe he built his instruments but it is not unheard of for a store to build some instruments and import others (Weymann and Sons, Gretsch, and Fender all did this)

Guitars

Headstock

Looking at Louis' surviving guitars, we can try to pinpoint some details to identify him from other builders. Headstocks are tough. Sometimes they can have little quirks that immediately set them apart, such as the shape of the slots, and other times they can look incredibly generic. 


Sutz's headstock with 3 extra holes for some reason
Image Credit: Invaluable.com

Heel

Louis was clearly influenced by Spanish classical guitar building as his heels are large and proud compared to the more diminutive sizing of the French and German instruments.  
Sutz's large heel
Image Credit: Invaluable.com

However, this early example of his work has a smaller heel which is more in line with American construction of the late 1800s

Unusually small heel from an earlier instrument
Image Credit: Blog.Daum.Net - Paul Song

Bridge

Bridges from this era are tough, they were dainty and often didn't survive the advent of steel stringed guitars (and people putting them on guitars they weren't designed for). I've only found one guitar online that was in good enough condition for me to consider the bridge to be original. It was only advertised as being "full-height"

Possible Sutz bridge
Pyramid bridge with fretwire saddle
Image Credit: UMGF.com - MojoDreads

Mandolins

Sutz sold both traditional bowl-back mandolins as well as newer flat-back mandolins. 

Image Credit: Reverb - Mike's Music

Image Credit: Invaluable

Flat Back

His flat back mandolins are uniquely shaped. They are like an A-style but wider in the lower bout

Image Credit: Invaluable.com




Sources

[1] Grave - https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/106179197:60525?ssrc=pt&tid=182251037&pid=312438174278
[2] 1891 directory - https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/282808118:2469?tid=182251037&pid=312438174278&queryId=7e1d39640a307892ebdc95e625edc1e0&_phsrc=OTJ1244&_phstart=successSource
[3] 1886 directory - https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/287090413:2469?tid=182251037&pid=312438174278&queryId=7e1d39640a307892ebdc95e625edc1e0&_phsrc=OTJ1244&_phstart=successSource
[4] 1882 directory - https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/284154194:2469?tid=182251037&pid=312438174278&queryId=7e1d39640a307892ebdc95e625edc1e0&_phsrc=OTJ1244&_phstart=successSource
[5] 1895 directory - https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/1107350167:2469?tid=182251037&pid=312438174278&queryId=c1e433bb0786ccad13b25ba2062411c8&_phsrc=OTJ1253&_phstart=successSource
[6] 1900 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7602/images/4117737_00160?pId=40275446
[7] 1910 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7884/images/4449733_00454?pId=21828609
[8] 1920 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6061/images/4383746_00452?pId=33797531
[9] 1930 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6224/images/4639628_00607?pId=72375556
[10] 1940 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/2442/images/m-t0627-03192-00704?pId=35754331



Portrait c.1912 Image Credit: [3] About Franklin Howard Griffith was born December 19th, 1867 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father Isaiah was ...

Portrait c.1912
Image Credit: [3]

About

Franklin Howard Griffith was born December 19th, 1867 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father Isaiah was a carpenter while his mother stayed home tending to the house [1][2]. He often signed his name as F. Howard indicating his preference for his middle name. According to a 1912 biography, Griffith began working at the largest music house in Baltimore in 1886 and shortly after was offered the position of manager of a Philadelphia music house. In 1888, Howard went into business for himself and by 1890 had begun manufacturing musical instruments

F. H. Griffith & Co - (1890-1897)

Howard opened his first music store at 1102 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia where he sold banjos, mandolins, and guitars. Whether these instruments were actually built by his company or were ordered from other firms requires more time spent inspecting the existing instruments.

1891 ad 
Image Credit: Google Books - The Étude Music Magazine

1891 ad
Image Credit: Google Books - Book News

In 1892, Griffith patented a package for instrument strings made of wax paper with separate pockets for each string intended to protect gut strings from being exposed to the environment and deteriorating.

Patent 488,005
Image Credit: Google Patents

By 1895, the firm had moved to 131 South 11th Street and advertised their mandolins and guitars almost exclusively. 


1895 Ad
Image Credit: Google Books - The Étude

In 1897, Griffith sold off his instrument manufacturing firm and spent the next 6 years seeking gold in Alaska. He moved back to the United States in 1903 and lived in Arizona and California, continuing as a miner, before moving back to Philadelphia where he continued to manage his mines across the country and became a director of three oil companies [3]


Sources

[1] Passport application - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/1174/images/USM1490_580-0103?pId=1044623
[2] 1880 census - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6742/images/4241604-00584?pId=49336657
[3] Notables of the Southwest - 1912 - https://www.google.com/books/edition/Press_Reference_Library/j-IDAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=%22f+h+griffith%22+music+instruments&pg=PA211&printsec=frontcover

About Herwin was a short lived record label and distributor which existed in St. Louis, Missouri from 1924 until about 1930. Its founders ar...

About

Herwin was a short lived record label and distributor which existed in St. Louis, Missouri from 1924 until about 1930. Its founders are commonly attributed to the brothers Herbert and Edwin Schiele but further research shows that the company was actually founded by Herbert and his father Edwin Schiele. 

Edwin Schiele Sr was born July 9th, 1862 to German immigrant parents, Sigmund and Fanny, in St Louis, Missouri. Sigmund found success in the wholesale liquor business and earned a comfortable living for the family. They lived at 1428 Papin Street in a 3 story brick building between 14th and 15th Streets [2]. Edwin attended St Louis Public Schools until he turned 14 when he took a job at the wholesale dry good store of Judd & Platt. After 3 years of employment, he joined his father in the liquor trade as secretary and treasurer of his father's company. His father died in 1882 at the age of 56 leaving Edwin in control of the company [1]. 

Herbert Schiele was born January 25th, 1899 as the third child of Edwin and Minnie Schiele (nee Kramer) in Saint Louis, Missouri. They lived at 4139 Maryland Avenue in a two story brick home that they rented . They were a relatively well off family and employed two live-in maids. In 1910, they had moved to a luxury apartment complex at 4548 Forest Park Boulevard; not far from the famous park that had held the Worlds Fair years prior [11]. All three of their homes have been unceremoniously torn down during the last century as part of 'urban renewal'.

Edwin Schiele Jr was born July 8th, 1909 and was too young to have participated in these businesses in any meaningful fashion [12].

Schiele Advertising Co

In 1913, Edwin and his brother Seymour founded the Schiele Advertising Company which carried on into the 1920s.

Artophone Co

Prohibition in January of 1920 put an end to the Schiele liquor industry so Hebert and Edwin pivoted into the musical merchandise industry. They obtained control of the Artophone Company, a talking machine manufacturer founded in 1916 by Robert H. Cone Senior and his son. Edwin took on the role of President while Herbert became the secretary and treasurer. The company switched its focus from manufacturing to distributing of more general musical merchandise.

Image Credit: Music Trade Review

In 1923, 1101 and 1103 Olive Street suffered a fire originating from the basement which destroyed product from 3 large firms including Artophone. They lost around $45,000 worth of talking machines, records, and assorted merchandise [3]. They temporarily relocated to 1213 Pine Street while repairs were conducted [4]. Later that year, Arthur C. Thiebes Co took over the retail operations of Artophone while they would continue operating in a wholesale fashion [7]. Excitingly, in 1925 Artophone absorbed Wholesale Musical Supply Co and were joined by the brothers Ray and C. W. Layer [5]. 

Herwin 

Herwin Records began being distributed by Artophone around 1924 or 1925, according to snippets I've found. There isn't a ton of detail available but a man named John Randolph spoke with Herbert and compiled some history on the company and records in the late 1940s. A 1957 mention in "A Glimpse at the Past - An Illustrated History of Some Early Record Companies that Made Jazz History" by Michael Wyler describes Herwin records as being relatively rare. Another, later, mention describes the records as being pressed from cheap shellac which may explain their scarcity.

It was around this time that Edwin and Herbert began distributing records under the name Herwin. The label being a portmanteau of Herbert and Edwin.

Artophone - continued

In 1926, they moved out of the Thiebes building to 1622-1624 Olive Street with plans on expanding their offerings to include band instruments with their brand name [8].

In 1929, Tonk Brothers purchased the merchandise branch of Artophone and shipped the remaining stock up to their office in Chicago. It is noted that the record, radio, and phonograph operations of Artophone would remain unaffected [6]

In 1930, Artophone sold Herwin Records to Paramount Records which axed the label [9].

According to Herbert's youngest son James, Artophone Co continued to exist into the 1950s until his father purchased another local firm St. Louis Screw & Bolt [10].

The Herwin Guitar

This is the pièce de résistance. The reason I compiled a bunch of background information. I saw this guitar on Reverb and initially dismissed it as the logo looked and sounded like something from 1950s Germany. But I came back around to it and realized that this very well looks like an American made guitar from far earlier than I originally thought.

Reverb - Izzy's Vintage Guitars

The listing identifies it as being from the 1920s and likely from Chicago which I agree with. The exact builder manages to escape me but I know St Louis didn't have any prolific guitar builders during that era but did have a strong piano manufacturing center in the same block that Artophone was based out of. My gut is telling me that it is a Harmony because of the fingerboard inlays, wood selection, and checkerboard binding but I cannot say that it is for certain without more photos/better info.

Reverb - Izzy's Vintage Guitars

Sources

[1] https://www.google.com/books/edition/Centennial_History_of_Missouri/3g9ZAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=EDWIN+SCHIELE+DISTILLING+COMPANY&pg=PA479&printsec=frontcover
[2] https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4164sm.g4164sm_g04858190801/?sp=65&st=image&r=0.15,0.371,0.89,0.365,0
[3] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1923-77-4/05/
[4] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1924-78-2/10/
[5] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1925-80-24/51/
[6] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1929-88-9/14/
[7] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1923-77-25/13/
[8] https://mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1926-82-7/24/
[9] https://rateyourmusic.com/label/herwin_record_co_/
[10] https://source.wustl.edu/2010/10/a-special-man-builds-a-special-collection/
[11] 1910 Census - https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RNY-D1J?i=22&cc=1727033&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AM21B-DZZ
[12] 1920 Census - https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RX3-7LT?i=20&cc=1488411&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3AM884-8WW

  Image Credit: State Historical Society of Missouri Included in my recent purchase of Schwarzer scans from the State Historical Society of ...

 

Image Credit: State Historical Society of Missouri

Included in my recent purchase of Schwarzer scans from the State Historical Society of Missouri was this catalog of all the models available during the peak of Schwarzer's firm. This 1898 catalog contains numerous models and levels of ornamentation. The most expensive instrument is equivalent to $3,500 today which reflects the clientele that Franz and his men were building for.

Prime Table Zither No. 1 "A"

  • List Price: $10.00 (without folding legs)
  • Tuning same as a Concert zither
  • Spruce sound board
  • Imitation Rosewood finish
  • Sides are painted black and polished
  • Back is 'dull' black
  • Purfling around soundhole
  • Rosewood hand rest
  • Pearl position dots
  • Pasteboard case

Prime Zither


Photograph is of a special order Prime Zither with
ornamentation not seen in the catalog
  • No. 3 (Small Model, without patent heads)
    • List Price: $15.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black finished sides and back
    • 32 strings
    • Pearl position dots
    • Pasteboard case
  • No. 7 (Large Model, with patent heads)
    • List Price: $29.50
    • Same as No. 3 except with:
      • Engraved nickel tuners
      • Wood purfling around soundhole and edges
      • Cloth covered and flannel lined wood case
  • No. 9
    • List Price: $35.00
    • Same as above except with:
      •  Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
  • No. 10
    • List Price: $50.00
    • Same as as No. 7 except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood veneered top and sides
      • Ivoroid bound edges
  • No. 11
    • List Price: $60.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood veneered back
      • Colored wood inlaid purfling
      • Highly polished
      • Leather covered and velvet lined case with nickel trimmings
  • No. 12
    • List Price: $70.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Fancy pearl inlaid around soundhole 
      • Plated tuning pins
  • No. 13
    • List Price: $78.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Fancy pearl inlaid around top edges
  • No. 14
    • List Price: $105.00
    • Brazilian Rosewood veneered top, sides, and back
    • Fancy colored wood inlaid around soundhole and edges
    • Ivoroid bound edges
    • Inlaied with variegated pearl
    • Ornamental designs of ivory, gold, and silver
    • Finely engraved gold and silver patent head with pearl buttons
    • Leather covered and velvet lined case with nickel trimmings

Concert Zither Style "A" No.17

  • List Price: $19.00
  • Imitation Rosewood top
  • Black finished sides and back
  • Wood purfling inlaid around soundhole and edges
  • 32 strings
  • Pearl position dots
  • Pasteboard case

Concert Zither Style "A" No.21

  • List Price: $32.00
  • Imitation Rosewood top
  • Black finished sides and back
  • Engraved nickel patent heads
  • Wood purfling inlaid around soundhole and edges
  • 32 strings
  • Pearl position dots
  • Canvas covered, flannel lined case with nickel hardware
    • Optionally available in a cloth covered, flannel lined case, with leather handle

Concert Zither Style "A" Large Model


  • No. 23
    • List Price: $39.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black finished sides and back
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • 35 strings
    • Pearl position dots
    • Canvas covered, flannel lined case with nickel hardware
      • Optionally available in a cloth covered, flannel lined case, with leather handle
  • No. 23-1/2
    • List Price: $50.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Sides veneered with tulipwood
      • Ivoroid bound edges and inlaid wood purflings
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel hardware
  • No. 24
    • List Price: $52.00
    • Same as No.23 except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top and sides
      • Ivoroid bound edges and inlaid wood purflings
  • No. 25
    • List Price: $64.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top, back, and sides
      • Ivoroid bound edges and inlaid wood purflings
  • No. 26
    • List Price: $73.50
    • Same description as No. 25 except with:
    • Fancy pearl figures around soundhole
    • Finely plated tuning pins
  • No. 27
    • List Price: $83.00
    • Same description as No. 26 except 'elaborately finished'
  • No. 28
    • List Price: $112.00
    • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top, back, and sides
    • Ivoroid bound edges and fancy, colored inlaid wood purflings
    • Inlaid with variegated pearl
    • Ornamental designs of ivory, gold, and silver
    • Finely engraved gold and silver plated patent heads with pearl buttons
    • 35 strings
    • Pearl position dots
    • Leather covered and velvet lined case with nickel hardware

Concert Zither Style "B" 

Pictured is No. 36
Model first introduced in 1891
  • No. 31
    • List Price: $40.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black finished sides and back
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • 35 strings
    • Pearl position dots
    • Cloth covered and flannel lined case
  • No. 32
    • List Price: $48.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole and wood purfling around edges
  • No. 33
    • List Price: $58.00
    • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top
    • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
    • Ivoroid bound edges
  • No. 34
    • List Price: $68.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Fancy, colored inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel trimmings
  • No. 35
    • List Price: $75.00
    • Same as No. 34 except with:
      • Fancy pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
      • Plated tuning pins
  • No. 36
    • List Price: $84.00
    • Same as No. 34 except with:
      • Fancy pearl inlaid around soundhole and top edge
      • Fitted with a 'finely carved ebony shell'
      • Ornamented scroll
  • No. 37
    • List Price: $100.00
    • Same as above No. 34 except with:
      • Fancy, colored inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
      • Fitted with a 'finely carved ebony shell' and ornamental scroll
      • Finely engraved gold and silver plated patent heads with pearl buttons
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel hardware

Harp Zither Style "A"

Pictured is No. 45
Model first introduced in 1887

  • No. 40
    • List Price: $55.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black finished sides and back
    • Genuine rosewood pillar and scroll
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • 38 strings
    • Cloth covered and flannel lined case
  • No. 41
    • List Price: $60.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole and wood purfling around edges
  • No. 43
    • List Price: $78.50
    • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top
    • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
    • Genuine rosewood pillar and scroll
    • Finely carved shell
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
    • Ivoroid bound edges
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • Cloth covered and flannel lined case
  • No. 45 (New Style)
    • List Price: $112.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Sides veneered with tulip-wood
      • Artistically engraved gold and silver plated patent head with pearl buttons
      • Fancy, colored inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and edges
      • Elaborately inlaid and engraved pearl, metal, and ivory
      • Finely carved pillar, shell, and scroll
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel trimmings
  • No. 46
    • List Price: $134.00
    • Same as No. 45 except with:
    • Inlaid pearl figures around soundhole and top edge 

Harp Zither Style "B" 

Pictured is No. 51
Model first introduced in 1878

  • 42 Strings

Arion Harp Zither Style "B" 


Pictured is No. 73
Model first introduced in 1882

  • 42 Strings
  • Schwarzer patent aluminum stringholder

Concert Arion Zither Style "A" Large Model

Pictured is No.62
Introduced in 1881
  • No. 61
    • List Price: $48.50
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black finished sides and back
    • Engraved nickel patent head
    • Inlaid wood purflings
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • 35 strings
    • Schwarzer patent aluminum string holder
    • Canvas covered, flannel lined case 
  • No. 62
    • List Price: $55.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
  • No. 64
    • List Price: $65.00
    • Same as No.61 except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood Burl veneer on top
      • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
      • Ivoroid bound edges  
  • No. 65
    • List Price: $75.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Brazilian Rosewood burl on top and bottom
      • Colored wood inlaid purfling
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel trimmings
  • No. 66
    • List Price: $82.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
  • No. 67
    • List Price: $90.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Sides veneered with tulipwood

Folding Table Zither

  • No. 110
    • List Price: $50.00
    • 42 Strings
    • Polished imitation rosewood top
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • Brazilian Rosewood handrest
    • Oiled walnut stands
    • Papier-mache Case
  • No. 112
    • List Price: $60.00
    • Same as above:
      • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
      • Edges bound with white holly
  • No. 114
    • List Price: $80.00
    • Same as above:
      • Top veneered with Brazilian Rosewood burl
      • Pearl inlaid soundhole
      • Ivoroid bound edges
      • Colored wood purflings
      • Finely finished walnut stands

Elegy or Song Zither

Pictured is No. 85
The "Elegy" or "Song" zither is 3-1/2" longer than the concert zither and is tuned four tones below concert pitch, or in "E". 
  • No. 80
    • List Price: $24.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black bottom and sides
    • No patent heads
    • 32 Strings
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • Cloth covered, flannel lined wood case
  • No. 84
    • List Price: $34.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Engraved nickel patent head
      • Wood purfling around soundhole
      • Pearl position dots
  • No. 85
    • List Price: $40.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
  • No. 86
    • List Price: $54.00
    • Same as No. 84 except with:
      • Top veneered with Brazilian Rosewood burl
      • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
      • Ivoroid bound edges
      • Inlaid wood purflings
  • No. 87
    • List Price: $68.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Colored wood inlaid purflings
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case with nickel hardware
  • No. 88
    • List Price: $85.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Top and bottom veneered with Brazilian Rosewood burl
      • Sides veneered with tulipwood
      • Fancy pearl figures around soundhole
      • Ivoroid bound edges and inlaid fancy colored wood purfling around soundhole, top, and back

Lady Zither

Not Pictured

Schwarzer first introduced the Lady-sized zither in 1878. They are the same shape as the Elegy zithers but are 1-1/2" shorter and tuned in concert pitch. They are also strung with thinner strings making playing easier
  • No. 90
    • List Price: $30.00
    • Imitation Rosewood top
    • Black bottom and sides
    • Engraved nickel patent heads
    • Inlaid wood purfling
    • 32 Strings
    • Polished steel tuning pins
    • Cloth covered, flannel lined wood case
  • No. 91
    • List Price: $36.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Pearl figures around soundhole
  • No. 93
    • List Price: $52.00
    • Same as No. 90 except with:
      • Top veneered with Brazilian Rosewood burl
      • Sides veneered with Brazilian Rosewood
      • Ivoroid bound edges
      • Inlaid wood purflings
      • Leather covered, velvet lined case
  • No. 94
    • List Price: $65.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Colored wood inlaid purflings
  • No. 95
    • List Price: $75.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Fancy pearl figures inlaid around soundhole
  • No. 88
    • List Price: $85.00
    • Same as No.94 except with:
      • Top and bottom veneered with Brazilian Rosewood burl
      • Sides veneered with tulipwood
      • Fancy pearl figures around soundhole
      • Ivoroid bound edges and inlaid fancy colored wood purfling around soundhole, top, and back

Concert Violin Bow Zither


The violin bow zither is played with a bow and the left hand does the fretting. The instrument is placed against the edge of the table with the body resting in the lap (it could also be fitted on a table). They are tuned E, A, D, and G but can be custom ordered in A, D, G, C.
  • No. 105
    • List Price: $21.00
    • Flat top and back
    • Top is finished dark red
    • Back is imitation rosewood
    • No patent heads, plain steel tuning pins
    • Schwarzer's patent metal stringholder
  • No. 106
    • List Price: $26.00
    • Same as above except with:
      • Engraved nickel patent heads
      • Case available for $4.00 extra
  • No. 108
    • List Price: $42.00
    • Same as above except with:
    • Arched top and back
    • Stained and polished
    • Canvas covered case

Cello Bow Zither

Made to order only. The tuning is one octave lower than the Violin bow zither

  Image Credit: Historical Society of Missouri Style 118 Not Pictured List Price: $15.00 Spanish Cedar 9 ribs Mahogany border Spruce top Inl...

 

Image Credit: Historical Society of Missouri

Style 118

Not Pictured

  • List Price: $15.00
  • Spanish Cedar
  • 9 ribs
  • Mahogany border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid wood guardplate
  • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge

Style 120

Image Credit: State Historical Society of Missouri

  • List Price: $17.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 13 ribs
  • Mahogany border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid celluloid guard plate
  • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Style 122

  • List Price: $21.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 13 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
  • Mahogany border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid celluloid guard plate
  • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Style 123

    Not Pictured

    • List Price: $28.00
    • Mahogany neck
    • 13 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
    • Mahogany border
    • Spruce top
    • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate
    • Pearl figures around soundhole and top
    • Ivoroid top binding
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Ivory nut
    • Ivory saddle in bridge
    • Rosewood veneered headstock

    Style 126

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 21 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
  • Rosewood border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with scroll ornament
  • Colored wood purfling around soundhole and top
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock

  • Style 129

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $35.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 21 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
  • Tulipwood border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with scroll ornament
  • Pearl figures around soundhole and top
  • Ivoroid top binding
  • Ebony fingerboard with four engraved position marks
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Style 135

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $50.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 28 ribs of Rosewood with ivoroid between each rim
  • Rosewood border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with pearl inlay
  • Fancy wood purfling around soundhole and top
  • Ivoroid top binding
  • Ebony fingerboard with 5 engraved pearl position marks
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Style 137

  • List Price: $65.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 28 ribs of Rosewood with ivoroid between each rim
  • Rosewood border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with pearl inlay
  • Fancy pearl inlays around soundhole and top
  • Pearl inlay in headstock
  • Engraved gold tuners with pearl buttons
  • Ivoroid top binding
  • Ebony fingerboard with 5 engraved pearl position marks and ivoroid binding
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Style 140

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $80.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 40 ribs of Rosewood with ivoroid between each rim
  • Tulipwood border
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with pearl inlay
  • Fancy pearl inlays around soundhole and top
  • Pearl inlay in headstock
  • Engraved gold tuners with pearl buttons
  • Ivoroid top binding
  • Ebony fingerboard with 5 engraved pearl position marks and ivoroid binding
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Rosewood veneered headstock
  • Engraved tailpiece
  • Style 150


  • List Price: $125.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • Tulipwood border with inlaid pearl and celluloid
  • 40 fluted ribs of ebonized maple with aluminum inlay between each rib
  • Spruce top
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with pearl and metal inlay
  • 'Variegated pearl cording' around soundhole and top
  • Pearl inlay in headstock
  • Engraved gold and silver tuners with pearl buttons
  • Ivoroid top binding
  • Ebony fingerboard with engraved pearl position marks and ivoroid binding
  • Ivory nut
  • Ivory saddle in bridge
  • Tortoise celluloid headstock veneer with pearl inlays
  • Engraved tailpiece

  • Style 224 - Mandola

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Mahogany neck
  • 21 ribs of mahogany
  • Rosewood border
  • Spruce top
  • Tortoise celluloid guardplate
  • Colored wood purfing around soundhole and top
  • Ebony fingerboard 
  • Pearl position dots
  • Nickel plated tuners

  • Style 418 - 12 String Mandolin

    Not Pictured

    • List Price: $19.00
    • Spanish Cedar
    • 9 ribs
    • Mahogany border
    • Spruce top
    • Inlaid wood guardplate
    • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Ivory nut
    • Ivory saddle in bridge

    Style 420 - 12 String Mandolin

    Not Pictured

    • List Price: $21.00
    • Mahogany neck
    • 13 ribs
    • Mahogany border
    • Spruce top
    • Inlaid celluloid guard plate
    • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Ivory nut
    • Ivory saddle in bridge
    • Rosewood veneered headstock

    Style 422 - 12 String Mandolin

    Not Pictured

    • List Price: $25.00
    • Mahogany neck
    • 13 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
    • Mahogany border
    • Spruce top
    • Inlaid celluloid guard plate
    • Wood purfling around soundhole and tip
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Ivory nut
    • Ivory saddle in bridge
    • Rosewood veneered headstock

    Style 426 - 12 String Mandolin

    • List Price: $29.00
    • Mahogany neck
    • 21 ribs of Rosewood and Birds-eye maple
    • Rosewood border
    • Spruce top
    • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate with scroll ornament
    • Colored wood purfling around soundhole and top
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Ivory nut
    • Ivory saddle in bridge
    • Rosewood veneered headstock

    Style 310 - Mandolinette


  • List Price: $16.00
  • Stained Birds-eye maple back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate
  • Wood purfling around soundhole and top
  • Nickel plate tuners

  • Style 320 - Mandolinette

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $18.00
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate
  • Wood purfling around soundhole and top
  • Nickel plate tuners

  • Style 340 - Mandolinette

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $24.00
  • Brazilian Rosewood back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate
  • 'Fancy' purfling around soundhole and top
  • Nickel plate tuners

  • Style 350 - Mandolinette

    Not Pictured

  • List Price: $26.00
  • Brazilian Rosewood back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Inlaid tortoise celluloid guard plate
  • Inlaid pearl figures around soundhole and top
  • Nickel plate tuners
  • Mandolin Cases

    Not built by Schwarzer, these were fairly common case offerings. But a fun thing to note nonetheless

















      About Best known for their zithers, the Schwarzer company is rarely associated with other stringed instruments when in actuality they prod...

     


    About

    Best known for their zithers, the Schwarzer company is rarely associated with other stringed instruments when in actuality they produced guitars, mandolins, and violins. Thankfully the State Historical Society of Missouri had copies of the Schwarzer catalogs and I paid to get high quality scans. I am including the guitar models and their descriptions below. The date of this catalog is unknown but I know from their log book that the first guitar was produced around 1896.

    Use my Guide to Schwarzer Serial Numbers for a closer date on your instrument and Contact Me with your serial number for an exact date of manufacture. I also buy and repair instruments.

    Style 2
    Image Credit: State Historical Society of Missouri

    Franz Schwarzer's Style 2 instruments started at $20 for their Standard size (No.502) and were available in Concert (No.602) and Grand Concert (No.702) sizes.
    • Solid Mahogany body
    • Inlaid wood purfling around soundhole and top
    • Radiused rosewood fingerboard
    • Pearl position dots
    • Ivoroid heel plate
    • Veneered headstock
    • Nickel-plated tuners with celluloid buttons
    • Ebony bridge

    Style 3


    The Style 3 instruments started at $25 for the Standard size (No.503) and were also available in Concert (No.603) and Grand Concert (No.703) sizes.
    • Solid Mahogany body
    • "Fancy marquetry" purfling around soundhole and top
    • 'Variegated' wood centerstrip on the back
    • Radiused rosewood fingerboard
    • Fancy pearl inlaid position markers
    • Ivoroid heel plate
    • Veneered headstock
    • Nickel-plated tuners with celluloid buttons
    • Ebony bridge

    Style 4

    The Style 4 instruments started at $30 for the Standard size (No.504) and were also available in Concert (No.604) and Grand Concert (No.704) sizes.
    • Solid Mahogany body
    • Fancy pearl figures inlaid around the soundhole and top
    • Ivoroid top binding
    • Radiused rosewood fingerboard
    • 'Variegated' wood centerstrip on the back
    • Fancy pearl inlaid position markers
    • Ivoroid heel plate
    • Veneered headstock
    • Nickel-plated tuners with celluloid buttons
    • Ebony bridge

    Style 4

    The Style 5 instruments were identical to the Style 4 except they were Brazilian Rosewood. They started at $50 for the Standard size (No.505) and were also available in Concert (No.605) and Grand Concert (No.705) sizes.
    • Solid Brazilian Rosewood body
    • Fancy pearl figures
    • 'Variegated' wood centerstrip on the back
    • Fancy pearl inlaid position markers
    • Ivoroid heel plate
    • Veneered headstock
    • Nickel-plated tuners with celluloid buttons
    • Ebony bridge