View Full Version : Vintage Catalogs & Advertisments

Jun-22-2006, 1:43pm
Thought this would be fun to group more of this stuff in one place. Here's the earliest Gibson ad I've found so far, showing a typically Orville-style F mandolin with banjo style tuners etc

Jun-22-2006, 1:43pm
This one will help make your dreams come true..

Jun-22-2006, 1:45pm
Just $5 a month..

Jun-22-2006, 1:49pm
This is a detail of an early Gibson logo on an envelope postmarked Oct 19, 1906

Jun-22-2006, 1:55pm
The envelope that is on contains this original invoice/receipt for A3 #6446 ($40!). Details blurred are names of original owners..

Jun-22-2006, 2:02pm
Here's the top of that envelope (agin blurring some personal details)

Jun-22-2006, 2:03pm
Kalamzoo, The City That Made Celery Famous
(the back of the envelope)

Jun-22-2006, 2:10pm
This is a page out of "The Sounding Board Salesman", a magazine sent to Gibson agents. Lots of gems in there, I'll get the whole thing up on the archive when I have time

Jun-22-2006, 8:48pm
I have that same Gibson window sings. Some one trimmed it to fit in to a frame but it is still in great shape. It has the instructions for tansfering it to a store front window on the back. I don't know if it is an original but i asume it is.

Bob A
Jun-22-2006, 9:08pm
I wasn't aware that celery was famous, but it seems appropriate somehow, now that so many are "stalking" the elusive Loar.

Any details on how Kalamazoo managed the Great Celery Promotion?

Jun-23-2006, 5:38am
carleshicks: cool! I'd love to see a decent photo or scan of it!

Jun-23-2006, 5:59am
I will scan it tonight and post it after I get home

Jun-23-2006, 7:23am
The Kalamzaoo Celery Story (http://www.michmarkers.com/startup.asp?startpage=S0133.htm) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

Jun-23-2006, 8:22am
OK.. sounding board salesman is nearly completed. I'll try to get that on the archive this weekend. Some real gems in there! There's a vintage "missing/stolen" list, some Gibson employees named & their jobs noted (you could find out who put the finish on your 1920!), etc. I would love to see/scan more of these to share. As it is I do my best given the budget on ebay to get them but if you're willing to loan a catalog or advert, I'll scan/share and mail it back to you http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jun-23-2006, 9:00am
Here's a cartoon from the Sounding Board Salesman magazine.. rather corny..

Jun-23-2006, 9:02am
The more things change, the more they stay the same!!!

Jerry Byers
Jun-23-2006, 9:09am
That gave me a chuckle. Sometimes you want to tell people to just get to the point. It would be interesting to see current ratios compared to 1920 ratios.

Jun-23-2006, 10:12am
This is a pretty cool piece of info, names of the men who completed assembly of the mandolins for Gibson in 1920:

Front Row, Left to Right:
Ray Wilson, Glen Cook, Newell Hall, Lester Schilling
Back Row, Left to Right:
"Jimmie" Johnstone, Joe Curtis, Cecil Covey, Myrl Hall, Wayne Spaksbury, Maynard Schoonmaker.

Covey was QA/clear a mando for being set-up, then leveled frets & installed nuts.

Cook & Wilson file the nuts and fit the bridges

Schilling, the two Halls and Schoonmaker put on the tuners, tailpieces, strings, pickguards

"Jimmie" checked the instruments in the records and turned them over to Spalsbury & Curtis for shipping

Wayne was the shipping clerk with Joe as his assistant.

Jun-23-2006, 10:16am
Back inside cover advertises slides available to help at performances etc to advertise the salesman's business

Jun-23-2006, 10:19am
This cartoon (again in Sounding Board Salesman 1920) goes along with an article stating that the factory is increasing output to keep up with demand. Interesting information in the magazine as this is right when the mandolin fad was really starting to die. There are hints of it.. the new fad in Hawaiian music is just starting to show up as well!

Jim Garber
Jun-23-2006, 10:32am
Wonderful stuff, Dan. Is this thread limited to only Gibson ephemera?


Jun-23-2006, 10:34am
Not at all, it's just what I have the most of !

Jim Garber
Jun-23-2006, 10:51am
I had a few things scanned already but have to scan the others. Here are two pages from a 1930-31 Continental Music Company catalog of Harmony-made Vita/Roy Smeck instruments.


Jim Garber
Jun-23-2006, 10:52am
Here is the second page.


Jun-23-2006, 11:00am
The famous Lucky Lindy bridge. Certainly an innovation that should have lasted http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jun-26-2006, 4:36pm
Ok folks, I've completed uploading the Sounding Board Salesman (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/documents/1920_sounding_board_salesman/cover.html) magazine in it's entirety. Ol' Man Dolin says: Great stuff there!


Jim Garber
Jun-26-2006, 9:24pm
I have had a pdf file with scans from an 1890's mandolin catalog by Luigi Ricca (http://www.paperclipdesign.com/ricca/) for free download.


Jul-02-2006, 4:31pm
Here's a great contribution from CarlesHicks here on the cafe- Carles has the very sign that is mentioned in "Sounding Board Salesman" and kindly sent some scans over. Fresh out of photoshop where my wife put the pieces back together, here's a Gibson Window Sign Circa 1920:

Jul-02-2006, 4:33pm
A detail..

Jul-02-2006, 4:35pm
From Page 32 of Sounding Board Salesman.. Roger Siminoff tells me he's pretty sure the man second from the top left in the photo of a banjo band is Lloyd Loar. My attempt at enlarging and enhancing..


Jul-02-2006, 4:36pm
I'll take a more intense stab at retouching the gibson sign during the week if I have time to take a few creases and so forth out of it. It'd be fun to stick one in the window of your boattail speedster, wouldn't it?

Jim Garber
Jul-02-2006, 4:43pm
That is wonderful. I will place my order for a tee shirt with that on it.


Jul-02-2006, 5:17pm
Roger Siminoff tells me he's pretty sure the man second from the top left in the photo of a banjo band is Lloyd Loar

Oh yeah, just look at them ears! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Jul-03-2006, 5:12am
JIM- I just adore old marketing/advertisments, especially from the 20s-40s. The National Guitar co adverts from the Deco period are just fantastic too. I'll get in touch with the folks at Gibson and see if maybe there's a way to resuscitate some of the great old vintage stuff like this.

I just have to say again by the way, that if you have something cool or unusual please post it and share if possible, it's amazing how often this works. I've posted something online here often to find replies that same day from folks with something similar or even cooler, like Carles Hicks sharing this sign! We're uniquely placed at the moment as a well-connected group of enthusiasts to really expand the amount of information we have!

Aug-06-2006, 4:24am
Here's a nice new piece of paper in my folder, a 1911 f4 ad targetted at dealers I reckon. This is *just before* the 3 point shape was retired. Note also the "pineapple" shaped tailpiece cover on the mandolin pictured. There was another very brief period I would assume was "using up the old bodies" where you'll see 3 pointers with teens-style tailpieces. The 3 pointers with raised pickguards are quite rare, being the last of their breed.

Jerry Byers
Aug-06-2006, 7:17am
I'll take a more intense stab at retouching the gibson sign during the week if I have time to take a few creases and so forth out of it. It'd be fun to stick one in the window of your boattail speedster, wouldn't it?

If you need some help with touching up with Photoshop, I can lend a hand.

Jim Garber
Aug-31-2006, 4:01pm
I just posted a promo postcard by an important Italian maker on this thread (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=15;t=12825;hl=new;st=50).


Matt Bowe
Aug-31-2006, 8:18pm
Try this link for the ultimate in Gibsonite photo fun.
http://www.kpl.gov/collect....ix.aspx (http://www.kpl.gov/collections/LocalHistory/AllAbout/businesses/GibsonInc/GibsonPix.aspx)

Sep-24-2006, 1:44pm
Here are some new fun scans from a tenor banjo tutorial Loar did at some point in his career

Sep-24-2006, 1:45pm
Pick grip, bet the same one was used for mandolin

Sep-24-2006, 1:51pm
One more

Sep-24-2006, 1:57pm
I had to photograph the page to get a decent image. I'll probably be able to get a better image of this with tripod soon

uncle ken
Oct-17-2006, 3:20pm
Gibson ad featuring Dave Apollon from early '60s.

Oct-17-2006, 7:49pm
I recall posting this photo once before, but this is an ad I have taped to my mando case. #I wonder how long ago you could still get one of these for $390, let alone $39:

Oct-18-2006, 12:33am
Dave with his '56 F5. Note the aluminumn bridge top. If Gibson had done ads like this for Monroe in the early 50's there may have never been a feud. Monroe was well aware Gibson pushed the F5 with Apollon and the banjo with Earl Scruggs. By 1960's I would think Gibson would know Monroe did more for the sale of the F5 than Apollon. By that time Apollon was just another Vegas lounge act. Monroe was touring heavliy throughout the USA and in college circuits who where major buyers of Gibson instruments.

Oct-18-2006, 8:50am
Just amazing to think that Gibson never teamed up with Monroe to push the F5 model... what weren't they thinking?!

Jim Garber
Oct-18-2006, 9:07am
Just amazing to think that Gibson never teamed up with Monroe to push the F5 model... what weren't they thinking?!
They were watching TV and focused on the mainstream. They hadn't a clue as to WSM's influence.

Also bear in mind that Dave Apollon loved to play the newest model whereas WSM bought his used and stuck with that same instrument. That doesn't sell new ones.

The artist-endorsed Gibsons were far a few between into the 1950s. I don't recall there even being any mandolins that were artist-endorsed until recently (correct me if I am wrong, please). Guitars, yes: starting with Nick Lucas, Roy Smeck, Les Paul, Tal Farlow, Trini Lopez, Johnny Smith and prob a few others I have left out.

Frankly, they weren't selling all that many mandolins and bluegrass music was ignored by the mass media anyway.


Oct-18-2006, 10:44am
Good point!

Jack Roberts
Oct-18-2006, 10:57am
I did the math on my A-1. The growth in value (based on what I paid for it) is about 4.4% per year. Not spectacular growth rate, but not bad. If you put the money in the stock market in 1918, you would have gotten back about 5.8% and your $39.00 investment would be worth $6.240.00, so you could buy an F5G and have enough to buy another used A-1! You might be a little too old to start collecting mandolins, but maybe not.

That's your useless information for the day.

Oct-18-2006, 11:00am
My '56 Gibson catalog shows Scruggs and Joe Maphis on the banjo(Joe was more of a guitar picker). Neither one a TV personality at that time. On guitars they show quite a bit: Bill Haley, PeeWee King,Jimmy Rainey,Bobby Hill(who?),Bobby Gibbons(who?),Billy Byrd,George Barnes(who?),Willy Lamothe(who?), Hank Thompson,Denise Emond(who?),Jame Kingston(who?),Jimmy Wakely, Tony Mottola(who?),Sal Salvador,Earl Backus(who?),Tony Bradan(who?),Stan Wilson(who?) and of coarse Les Paul. Only Dave Apollon is shown as a mandolin endorser. While Monroe may have prefered the Loar over anything else he did play other mandolins. He had to buy a 2nd F5 in 1964 to have a back-up and do GetUpJohn. With all these (who?)endosers of the 50's there really is no excuss to leave out Monroe(name one other hot mandolin picker of the decade?) When he carefully removed the Gibson name from the headstock I believe that is what killed his chances of becomeing a Gibson endorser of the 50's,60's,and 70's. But to be fair about it they didn't endorse Elvis who had played mostly Gibsons since 1956 either until after he died.

Oct-18-2006, 11:10am
Dave was cosmopolitan
Bill was hayseed

Jim Garber
Oct-18-2006, 11:48am
When he carefully removed the Gibson name from the headstock I believe that is what killed his chances of becomeing a Gibson endorser of the 50's,60's,and 70's. But to be fair about it they didn't endorse Elvis who had played mostly Gibsons since 1956 either until after he died.
Carefully? I thought he took a pen (uncle pen?) knife and gouged it out. And I figure it was after he realized that it wasn't going to happen.

Actually, Roy Smeck did similar. I took lessons from him in the 1980s. He did not mention this to me, tho. I bought his main steel at his estate auction and it is a Gibson from the 1940s but with the logo removed.

Roy was an early endorser, but seemed to lose that shine much later. His model was demoted to a Montgomery Ward electric steel. After that he went to Harmony, but I never saw him playing any of those except for an archtop electric guitar. he knew quality but he had to make a living as well and so he appeared in photos with budget instruments.

Didn't Elvis play a D-18 -- the one with the leather sheath for much of his career?


uncle ken
Oct-18-2006, 1:49pm
Dave probably kept a good business relationship with Gibson over the years. If compensation for endorsing was free instruments plus any publicity from the ads, this probably was something more suited to Apollon than Monroe.

Oct-19-2006, 10:41am
Elvis is better known and prefered his 50's SJ200 Gibsons over the Martins he had. He went back and forth but in the end died with his Gibson nearby the toliet he croaked over.
He had the leather cover made up for the D18 and the SJ200.
They were much more "flashy" then the Martins.

Nov-04-2006, 7:54am
Here's a cool piece of paperwork, the original receipt for 83841 that just arrived from Banana

Nov-04-2006, 7:55am
The archive has the full record on A model 83841 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?302)


Jim Garber
Nov-04-2006, 10:20am
Here is a sales receipt for a Lyon & Healy style A sold in New York in 1923. The mandolin turned up for sale at Elderly a year or so ago.


Nov-20-2006, 9:18am
Here's a view of the F4 in 1908/1909 Catalog F

Nov-20-2006, 9:20am
First known Gibson literature appearance of Lloyd Loar, here he appears to be endorsing gibson mandolins because they can intonate properly! Faint priase http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Nov-20-2006, 9:23am
Catalog F is neat in a lot of ways. More on that to follow

Dec-03-2006, 10:53am
This one preceeds catalog E in terms of obvious chronology, so is probably circa 1905/1906.

The cover is emossed and overprinted with gilt as well, a very nice little booklet!

Dec-03-2006, 10:54am
Jumping ahead a little..

Dec-03-2006, 10:55am
Here's a close-up of that A4 illustration

Dec-03-2006, 10:56am
Compare it to this photo of 3425 (From ebay a while back) which looks to be a perfect match

Dec-03-2006, 10:57am
More to follow as I get this one up on the archive. Thanks to the anonymous gentleman who has lent me this one, the first in a near-complete collection

Dec-03-2006, 12:09pm
One thing I noticed is in the illustration from the E catalog is the pricing, $50.00 for a top of the line A4, and a mere $25.00 for the plain jane A...wow! Is Spanish Cedar a oldtime term used for mahogany? My 06 A has a mahogany neck. One other question, what year did Orville switch from walnut to maple/birch for back and sides?

Michael Gowell
Dec-03-2006, 12:25pm
Another interesting point about the desciptions of wood used is the claim that "Norwegian Spruce" was used for the top rather than Adirondack (red) Spruce. #Was this true, or a matter of a different common name for the same wood, or outright hype (misrepresentation)?

Dec-03-2006, 12:34pm
We've had some chatters here about what the catalog names were vs the species.. the general thought was that it's quite hard to tell spruce species apart, and "Norwegian" may be a common name rather than a specific species.

Not sure what the Spanish Cedar is either!

I don't believe that Orville himself made the switch between woods- his hand-made instrument designs did not survive more than a hundred or so examples into the factory production that bought the rights to his name. My overall impression is that the factory Gibsons were very quickly considerably more practical to make in quantity than Orville's ever were!

Dec-04-2006, 9:07am
Norwegian, or Norway spruce is common name for European spruce used back then. "German" name wasn't probably favored because of the war(s).
There is just one species of spruce in Europe (OK there is also Serbian spruce, but it doesn't grow big enough for telegraph poles and is almost extinct, so I guess it doesn't count). There is no question what they meant. Picea abies.
The Loar specs sheet can be fishy document. I'd love to see it in person or at least direct scan of it.
I'm just not getting why would they advertise Norwegian spruce (which most people except violin makers wouldn't know) instead Adirondack spruce, and in the same paragraph they would describe Michigan maple being the best choice for backs?

Dec-04-2006, 9:30am
Just a note to say that these latest catalog scans come to us by way of a generous loan from Rod McDonald, who doesn't in fact need to stay anonymous http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

We're both hoping to use publication of Rod's extensive collection of catalogs as a catalyst to finding more documentation. Please get in touch if you have any old dated receipts, letterhead, etc that came with an old Gibson instrument or you collected separately. I'd love to eventaully get it all added to the archives

Mar-11-2007, 4:57pm
Interesting Loar poster on eBay. (http://cgi.ebay.com/Rare-Gibson-Mandolin-and-Guitar-Co-Poster-1920s_W0QQitemZ140091204126) Nice mandocello action - check out both photos!