View Full Version : When did Loar start working at Gibson?

Apr-01-2014, 7:35am
I think there's a lot of speculation about this subject. Most sources say 1918 or 1919, but this page from Gibson's 1921 Catalog M features Loar and describes him as a "Concert Soloist" and "Manager of the Fischer-Schipp Concert Company" among other credits. There is no mention of Loar as an acoustical engineer for Gibson. So, when did he actually start working for Gibson? Does anyone know?


Jim Garber
Apr-01-2014, 8:46am
I am not sure why my posts are coming in double lately. Sorry about that!

Jim Garber
Apr-01-2014, 8:53am
I am not sure of the exact answer to your question, Paul, but there are some nice Fisher-Shipp brochures from that era that I found on the U of Iowa site:

Brochure #1 (http://sdrcdata.lib.uiowa.edu/libsdrc/details.jsp?id=/fishersh/1)

Brochure #2 (http://sdrcdata.lib.uiowa.edu/libsdrc/details.jsp?id=/fishersh/2)

Brochure #3 (http://sdrcdata.lib.uiowa.edu/libsdrc/details.jsp?id=/fishersh/3)

Brochure #4 (http://sdrcdata.lib.uiowa.edu/libsdrc/details.jsp?id=/fishersh/4)

It sounds like Loar's preference was to study, play or compose music, but prob needed to supplement his income as well. Siminoff goes into much detail here (http://siminoff.net/pages/loar_background.html), notably:

Comparing Loar's employment, performance schedules, educational history, and the dating of his signature labels in Gibson instruments, the dates seem to suggest that he was away from the plant about as much as he was there, at least during the very early 1920s.

So, I would assume that even if Loar were working for Gibson it was as a consultant who took off on performing tours and may not have wanted his other worklife revealed to his audiences.

Mark Wilson
Apr-01-2014, 9:13am
To me, his comments seem a tad ott, like he was sponsored or employed by Gibson, but that was different period so who knows.

Jim Garber
Apr-01-2014, 10:35am
As a musician, I would think he was sponsored by Gibson. Take a look at the old catalogs. This was their way back then of going viral. I don't know if Gibson actually footed the bills for lots of groups but Loar did have connections there and prob sold Gibsons , if only by his performing. .... "Every One a Gibsonite!"

Capt. E
Apr-01-2014, 12:35pm
My understanding is LL began working for Gibson no earlier than late 1921. The oldest signed F-5's on the archive here was signed June 1, 1922. He left the employ of Gibson in December 1924. Last signed F-5 was December 1, 1924. http://www.mandolinarchive.com/gibson/serial/80417

Apr-01-2014, 12:54pm
There's a June, '22.

Apr-01-2014, 1:02pm
Read Roger's bio of Loar ... it answers most of these questions. He began working for Gibson as a musician and arranger in 1911, signed his acoustical engineer contract in 1918 but then went to Europe for a year, came back in June 1919 and started tinkering with instruments.


But the "Loar era," methinks, begins with the Master Model instruments.

Apr-01-2014, 1:16pm
Siminoff says he started at Gibson in 1919, but I kind of doubt that date, because there isn't any real proof to back it up. Yes, Loar had a relationship with Gibson that dated back to 1910, the first time he appeared in a Gibson catalog. None of Gibson's catalogs from 1918-1923 mention anything about Loar being an "acoustical engineer" let alone working for Gibson. My guess is he probably started in 1922.

Apr-01-2014, 1:17pm
Do the catalogs have a list of staff from which Loar is conspicuously absent?

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-01-2014, 1:24pm
It appears to me that there may be a blurred line between "working for Gibson" and being a "paid endorser of sorts". I see no hard evidence that he physically worked at the Kalamazoo factory prior to early '22 or sometime in '21

Apr-02-2014, 8:11am
Well, it's also not certain whether or not Gibson paid Loar to only be an "endorser". I bet he got some free instruments, but doubt he was paid anything until he was employed at the factory.

Joe Spann
Apr-06-2014, 8:55am
The original records of the Gibson Company indicate that Lloyd A. Loar started as a full-time, paid employee in February 1920.

His actual title was "Engineer of Construction and Acoustics."

Does that help..?


Apr-07-2014, 7:15am
The original records of the Gibson Company indicate that Lloyd A. Loar started as a full-time, paid employee in February 1920.

His actual title was "Engineer of Construction and Acoustics."

Does that help..?


Was there some kind of contract? What records do you have?