View Full Version : How and where to find the age of my instrument.

May-04-2009, 1:46am
I have an old washburn mandolin and I cannot find any information on putting an exact age on it. If anyone knows of any good places to find out please let me know.

May-04-2009, 1:57am
Hubert Pleijsier's recent book (http://www.amazon.com/Washburn-Prewar-Instrument-Styles-Pleijsier/dp/157424227X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241420371&sr=1-3) about vintage Washburns will tell you everything you need to know.

Or, you could post a photo along with the model and serial number from the label, and someone here can probably come pretty close to telling you the year.

Roger Mace
May-05-2009, 7:47am
Is there such a history book or efforts focused on other American bowlback maker accomplishments, like Vega?

May-05-2009, 2:12pm
It Says A-5326 that's all i know about it forreal. And that my grandfather bought it in chicago, illinois a long time a go more than 80 years ago probably.




Roger Mace
May-06-2009, 8:21am
Mine is number A-15570 and I was told it was probably made in the 'teens. Looks nearly identical except for the position markers on the fretboard - mine are circle dots more like those on most guitars.

May-06-2009, 11:37am
So is it worth anything? Should I keep it?

barney 59
May-06-2009, 4:05pm
It's was Granddads --that is a good reason to keep it---I guess it depends on what you think "much" is. It looks in pretty good shape but the short answer is "No, not much" Maybe $200 and if it is really clean and perfect it still wouldn't likely bring $500. American made bowlback mandolins are just not in demand.

May-06-2009, 9:35pm
The label puts it in the 1906-1915 time period. The number puts it sometime after 1907 and before 1910. This appears to be a mix between a Style 140 and a Style 150 (from the pictures in Hubert Pleijsier's book). Those model numbers were used years before yours were made. The fretboard inlay, headstock inlay and binding are similar to those models. Lyon and Healy, the company that built your Washburn was located in Chicago.

Steve Weeks
May-06-2009, 10:00pm
Lyon and Healy, the company that built your Washburn was located in Chicago.
I'm pretty sure that it was Washburn that made Lyon and Healy instruments. Washburn moved to Mundelein, IL, and in 2002 changed its name to U.S. Music Corporation (http://news.harmony-central.com/Product-news/Washburn-US-Music-Change.html).
The factory is less than a mile from where I sit. :-)

May-06-2009, 10:24pm
You've got it backwards. Lyon and Healy was the manufacturer. Washburn was one of their brand names. The Washburn name that is being used now is in no way related to the company that originally used the brand name. The Wikipedia page for Washburn guitars is about as wrong as any Wikipedia page could be. Better you should look at the Lyon & Healy Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyon_and_Healy). It's slanted to sell the harps that the company that bears the L&H name builds now but at least it's more historically correct. George W. Lyon and Patrick J. Healy started Lyon and Healy. The W after George Lyon's first name stands for Washburn, his middle name. Wahburn's were the flagship line of Lyon and Healy built instruments. The company that currently builds (actually imports) Washburn guitars wasn't even a twinkle in someone's eye when the last real Washburn's were built. For more information get a copy of Hubert Pleijsier's book Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles (http://www.amazon.com/Washburn-Prewar-Instrument-Styles-Pleijsier/dp/157424227X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241666281&sr=8-2). You can also take a look at this (http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?t=47681&highlight=lyon+healy+chicago) thread. You'll have to get a page or so into it. Cafe member Keef is the author of the book referenced above.

If you go to the Encyclopedia of American Instrument Makers on www.mugwumps.com and look up the brandname Washburn you'll see three different listings. Note the dates:

Washburn - J.R. Stewart brandname 1928-1930
Washburn - Lyon & Healy trademark 1883-1928
Washburn - Tonk Bros. brandname from 1930

As Lyon & Healy's business model changed they sold off the brandnames off. The folks currently using the name can say they are the same company, they just aren't.