View Full Version : More Vintage Catalogs

Apr-25-2009, 12:42pm
We put up more Martin & Gibson catalogs, along with Franklin & Givens catalogs. The Gibson N catalog has the Gibson A-2Z mandolin cataloged. We hope you enjoy them.
Be well,

Apr-25-2009, 12:54pm
Here's (http://www.acousticmusic.org/Instrument-Catalogs-sp-87.html) the link to the page.

Skip Kelley
Apr-26-2009, 2:56pm
Thanks Brian! There's some really cool info there!

Apr-27-2009, 5:47pm
Thanks Brian and welcome to the Mandolin Cafe! :grin: Wow! Thant is so cool. I seem to recall many years ago (+30) I had a few copies (reproductions) of vintage Gibson catalogs from the early 1920's. I don't recall where I got them or what happened to them. Have you ever seen such things? :confused:


Apr-27-2009, 7:23pm
I'm glad people are enjoying the catalogs, we will add more as time permits.
I used to have some reprints that I used as a part trade for a 1921 black A-2 with an adjustable bridge about twenty years ago. I wish I still had that mandolin:)

Michael Gowell
May-19-2009, 2:03pm
A Big Question: the "1909" Gibson catalog linked above describes the rim and neck as being carved from one piece, certainly not true by 1909. I've read that OG carved the rim and back from one piece early on, and I can imagine an experiment that tried a one piece rim and neck too. Nonetheless I thought that the separate neck with a M&T joint was adopted soon after OG sold the company and the new owners began the process of simplifying production...1907 or so?

Is the date attributed to the catalog wrong or did the catalog use an old description? The latter seems unlikely - the 1911 Gibson catalog that sold on ebay recently for about $575 accurately depicted the new F shape with only 2-points, introduced in 1911.

May-19-2009, 2:13pm
Orville GIbson never owned the Gibson company. Other than a patent and his name and picture it doesn't appear that he had much input. You can read more about it here (http://www.siminoff.net/pages/gibson_background.html). By the dates on Roger Siminoff's website it would appear that the catalog was saying one thing and Gibson was doing another unless of course they were building the one-piece instruments as custom orders or something.

Michael Gowell
May-20-2009, 4:34pm
Mike, thanks for the correction re. OG and the "company" he sold. But you miss my point. The description is terribly inaccurate for 1909 and it seems to me unlikely that a group of recently new investors would issue a seriously misleading sales catalog for their new enterprise. As cited, their 1911 catalog was right up to date with the shape changes - why would their construction descriptions be so wrong two years before? I don't buy the custom order idea - the catalog description would have been for their normal production, with occasional special orders handled individually. The "1909" catalog emphasizes the supposed tonal advantages of a one-piece construction which had been abandoned years before because it didn't lend itself to mass production.

Could the 1909 date attributed to this catalog be Quite Wrong?

May-20-2009, 5:43pm
That one listed at the site isn't 1909, it's the very first catalog. Conventional wisdom puts that to about 1903 with serial numbers 2500-2800 or so being represented by those specs and images. The 1908/1909 is catalog F.. cover shot with the F4 pages attached below, and note the factory added red stamping on the cover that helps nail the date down

May-20-2009, 5:49pm
This ad also dates to around 1903. The image represents what was likely an Orville-built F4 used as a template, though I've not seen one with a factory label that matches it. The first of the ones with the Lyre mandolin label that list serial numbers is 2502, which happens to be a harp guitar!

Also check out A model 2526 (http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/show_mando.pl?2782), which shows the hollow neck detail in great photos taken during restoration

Michael Gowell
May-21-2009, 4:42pm
Thanks, Dan. Interesting that in 1903 OG had already dubbed his enterprise "Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd." I guess he was under the impression that he had founded a company.

May-21-2009, 5:27pm
Let just quote from Siminoff's site:

"On the afternoon of October 11, 1902, Sylvo Reams, Lewis A. Williams (for more on Lewis, see Lloyd Loar), LeRoy Hornbeck, John W. Adams, Samuel K. VanHorn, and Orville H. Gibson met at the County Clerk's office to form a "Partnership Limited Association" (fundamentally, a business structure in which various investing members had limited liabilities) for the "Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co., Limited." Adams, VanHorn, and Hornbeck were lawyers practicing in Kalamazoo. Reams and Williams were both in the retail music business, and all saw the opportunity to capitalize on Orville's creative talents.

Strangely, Orville's name was not listed as a member of the Partnership -- he was at the meeting to sell his patent rights and to formally agree to the terms and conditions of the new organization. In 1904, another agreement followed which documented the payment of $2,500 from the Partnership to Orville Gibson for the exclusive rights to his patent. Through this arrangement, Orville sold his rights for a sum that would be equal to approximately $250,000.00 today."

Orville didn't really start the company. He probably thought he'd died and gone to heaven for the money he got for his patent.