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

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History The Up-To-Date Music Company was formed 1899 in Cleveland, Ohio to sell musical instruments with a group of five individuals. The co...

Up-To-Date Music Company - Cleveland, Ohio


The Up-To-Date Music Company was formed 1899 in Cleveland, Ohio to sell musical instruments with a group of five individuals. The company's history is confusing  due to the numerous leadership changes and the lack of extensive written records that mention it.

William Wicht was born on March 9th, 1859 in Germany. He died in 1916 and his last occupation was listed as a "furniture dealer" [5].


  • 1899 - Incorporated November 28th to 'engage in the sale of musical instruments' [1]
    • Members:
      • E. S. Cook
      • J. H. Webster
      • H. Pope
      • M. L. Fowles
      • G. H. Ganson
  • 1900 - Capital stock increased from $2,000 to $10,000 [2]
    • President: W. Wicht
    • Secretary: S. Wickerson
  • 1901 - Company located at 539 Pearl in Cleveland, Ohio [4]
    • President: W. Wicht
    • Vice President: D. Gottdiner
    • Secretary and Treasurer: E. Wiebenson
  • 1906 - The company pays $10 in delinquent fees to Ohio
  • 1907 - Up-To-Date Music Co in Sterling, Illinois was purchased by W. J. Doherty [3]
    • Previously owned by C. Berkholder
    • I believe this is the same company but I cannot confirm that


William Wicht patented a guide that would be adhered to the fingerboard of a mandolin and provide the notes that each fret represents. It is US Patent US656917A

Up-To-Date Patent Note Guide
Image Credit: Reddit /u/ROCKY027

Soundhole Labels

Up-To-Date Mandolin Soundhole Label
Image Credit: Reddit /u/ROCKY027
Up-To-Date Guitar Soundhole Logo
Image Credit: Reverb - Step On The Gas!


Its not clear who produced the instruments for the Up-To-Date Music Company. In many cases these companies ordered guitars from larger manufacturing firms, glued their own labels into them, and sold them as being of their own make.

The Reverb listing for the below guitar attributes it to the John Church Company but having recently repaired a John Church parlor I'm not entirely convinced that is its true origin. A few of the key features of a John Church guitar such as the rounded heel cap and proprietary tuners do not match.


This mandriola (a twelve string mandolin) is unique not only because it is an uncommon setup for a bowlback but also the stylistic features are not something I've seen before. The headstock has a rounded nub on the top and aluminum buttons on the tuners. The pickguard has a unique inlaid design which I've never seen before and the instrument features a lyre shaped tailpiece.

I've seen a couple references to Up-To-Date Music Co 12-string mandolins so there are definitely a few out there.

Up-To-Date Mandriola (12 string mandolin)
Image Credit: Reddit /u/ROCKY027


In nearly every aspect, this is a run of the mill parlor guitar with oak back and sides and a spruce top.

Up-To-Date Guitar
Image Credit: Reverb - Step On The Gas!

Up-To-Date Guitar Tuners
Image Credit: Reverb - Step On The Gas!



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