I'm embarking on a personal research project. I'm seeking information on Harwood brand stringed instruments manufactured for and by the Jenkins Music Company of Kansas City.
By the way, my name is Robert Jenkins, and yes, it's the same Jenkins. It was a family owned business from its beginning in 1878 until it was sold by my father in 1972.
Being a guitar and mandolin player, I'm curious about these instruments. I've only seen one in person. It was a parlor guitar, very plain in appointments, being shown at a guitar show in Independence, MO. It needed major restoration, but the guy only wanted $75.00 cash. By the time I called my dad to get his recollections on the Harwood brand, and got back with the cash, it had been sold.
So, having become a regular browser on the Mandolin Cafe, I know that there has to be someone out there who can fill in the gaps. Mainly: who really built the Harwoods, and did Jenkins Music ever have its own shop and build them. My dad does not have any documents, but does think that Jenkins did have its own shop for a while.
Here's what I've found so far by Google:
Q: I have a small, flattop acoustic guitar made by Harwood. Aside from this specific instrument, I've never seen nor heard another Harwood guitar and, despite some digging, I've found nothing about this maker. I've never even seen the name on any used-instrument dealers' inventory lists. Can you enlighten me? BM
A: Harwood was a brand name used by J.W. Jenkins Company, a Kansas City, MO musical instrument dealers and wholesalers. They introduced the Harwood brand in 1885, which they may not have actually manufactured. Circa 1895 they established a factory and produced guitars and mandolins under the Clifford and the Washington brand names. Some guitars marked "Harwood, New York" have been seen. It is not known if these are also by Jenkins.
Check out the drawing of the harp mandolin on this one. Unfortunately, no mando photos, but wow - those guitars were gorgeous.