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Thread: Harwood mandolins and guitars

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    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:

    From http://www.mugwumps.com/faq.htm

    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.


    frets.com

    and

    harpguitars

    Check out the drawing of the harp mandolin on this one. Unfortunately, no mando photos, but wow - those guitars were gorgeous.

    Regards,
    Bob

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    I am pretty sure that I have seen a few Harwood mandolins pop up on ebay over the years.
    Mostly sort of middle of the road bowlbacks if I remember correctly.
    Sorry I can't be of much help.

  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Most likely Harwoods were built by one of the large MidWestern companies. Stores like Jenkins would have jobbed out their instruments to large manufacturers like Regal.

    This flatback mandolin, for instance, has markings similar to others made by under the Supertone (Sears & Roebuck) label. Prob made by Harmony or Regal for Sears.

    I used to have a nice bowlback with the Harwood label. Unfortunately I sold it a few years ago. There are also some Harwood instruments that were labelled Harwood, New York.

    I have a Jenkins catalog somewhere and will take a look and scan if you like where appropriate.



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    Jim

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here is a rather fancy Harwood bowlback. The headstock actually resembles those made by the Joseph Bohmann Company of Chicago, tho I am not sure that these were built by Bohmann. He usually fitted his mandolins with his own patent tuners and the only thing that does connect to JB is the little pediment on the headstock.

    I would guess that Jenkins jobbed out to various manufacturers over the years which might make tracking a little difficult.



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    Jim

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I love the inlay on the headstock of this fancy one (not the previous instrument).
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    Jim

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    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Jim - thanks for the photos. I would be grateful for scans of any old Jenkins literature you have. My dad would get a kick out of it too: he's 82 and a fount of knowledge when it comes to music merchandising, however, the Harwood stringed instrument era was before his time, although Jenkins Music did continue to use the Harwood name on pianos made by Aeolian in Memphis.

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Bunch of stuff on Harpguitars.net.

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Yep - saw that. I'd love to get my hands on one of those instruments.

    Bob

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    I hesitate to share this link but I'll quit dreaming and let everyone else have a look



    "The trouble with you is the trouble with me, got two good eyes, but still don't see."--J.G.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I found one Jenkins catalog which I believe to be from the late 1930s/early 1940s. The only mandolins are Gibsons of that period with some Harmony and Kay guitars. No Harwoods.

    I will continue to look.
    Jim

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (steadypluckinaway @ Feb. 24 2008, 22:53)
    I hesitate to share this link but I'll quit dreaming and let everyone else have a look
    Ah, the Denver Folklore Center -- used to play there 40+ years ago, when I was at Ft. Carson down in Colorado Springs. Does Harry Tuft still run it, I wonder...?
    Allen Hopkins
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    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Yes sir he does, and he's a very kind and patient fella. I go in there a couple times a month to fondle the current inventory. They had a Jimmie Moon on consignment a couple years back and I must have spent four hours playing it one Saturday and Harry just sat there and smiled. Certainly not due to my playing, I am sure.
    "The trouble with you is the trouble with me, got two good eyes, but still don't see."--J.G.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    I just came across this Harwood Bandurria right before this thread started. Rather unusual... tho the mandolin craze in the late 19th century was ironically started by bandurria players, there were v ery few manufacturers of bandurrias in the US. I have seen one made by (or for) Lyon & Healy and now this Harwood. Vega stated on their labels that they made bandurrias but I have never seen one and some folks have surmised that they called their 10 string mandolin/mandolas bandurrias.

    The bridge on that one is a little odd and is not original. Usually these bandurrias have a glued-on bridge (sim to a guitar) combo with the strings going thru top a tailpiece. You can see the outline of the original bridge on the top.



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    Now that's just cute!

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (steadypluckinaway @ Feb. 24 2008, 21:53)
    I hesitate to share this link but I'll quit dreaming and let everyone else have a look
    Man, the rosewood on that guitar is incredible. Whoever made this knew what he was doing. I'm getting a GAS attack.

    Thanks for the link.

    Bob

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    Registered User David M.'s Avatar
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    A buddy of mine has a Harwood fiddle that's a nice, well made one and has good tone. Fluted F holes, etc. I've tried to talk it off of him, but no chance...
    David Mehaffey
    -------------------------------
    ...I wonder how the old folks are at home...

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    This process has been very enlightening. After seeing the photo of the bandurria that Jim posted, I went on ebay and did a search for "Harwood" in musical instruments. I turned up this:

    <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-Harwood-Alto-Sax_W0QQitemZ320116276805QQihZ011QQcategoryZ16232Q QrdZ1QQssPageNameZW
    D1VQQ_trksidZp1638.m118.l1247QQcmdZViewItem#ebayph otohosting" target="_blank">alto sax</a>

    Apparently the Harwood brand was applied to the whole gamut of instruments sold by Jenkins. The seller of this sax lives in Shawnee, Kansas, which is a suburb of Kansas City.

    I did play saxophone in my youth, but never really developed the affection for it that I have for stringed instruments. I'm gonna pass on this one.

    Bob

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    Bob -- are you the songwriter Bob Jenkins who lives in KCK?

    Great thread. I'd never heard of Harwood guitars and mandolins. Now my eyes are wide open for them.

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    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (bgmando @ Feb. 25 2008, 11:24)
    Bob -- are you the songwriter Bob Jenkins who lives in KCK?
    No, although I'm often asked that question. I've never met Bob the songwriter, but Jim Curley at Mountain Music Shoppe knows him and says he's a Christian musician.

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    Gutman, Frederick O. ( arranged by ) (VOB 5592)
    The / GUITAR / QUARTET. / THE HARWOOD GUITAR AND MANDOLIN CLUB, LOS ANGELES, CAL. / LESTER PAYNE, Director. ... 5 [The Florentine March.] / CLEVELAND: F. O. GUTMAN (1894), [1+1+1] pp. / 3 Guitars. Lithograph.


    Above could be tied in -- found at this website

    http://library.csun.edu/igra/vol1/giuliani2.html

    bg

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    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0734-4392(199124)9%3A4%3C353%3AKCMPTF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5

    Another interesting link -- note that the author of the paper is a librarian at UMKC.

    bg

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    OK, the plot thickens. Payne also had some connection to Chris Knutsen:

    The Mother of All Harp Guitar Orchestra Pictures, Spokane, 1902.

    Is it just me, or do most of the Spanish Guitars in this picture look like they have the "Harwood" inlay block at the end of the fingerboard? Could they all be Harwoods?

    Interesting that Lester Payne is in Los Angeles with the Harwood Club in the 1890s. I can do some more research here in LA on the Harwood Club and see what I can dig up. I would guess Payne would've performed around LA with the club, perhaps even on KHJ radio. How common was "Harwood" as a name? I suppose it's possible the group was NOT named after the brand...

    I also wonder if Payne was still in LA when Knutsen arrived in 1915.

    The LA Public Library has these two photos of LA Guitar-Mandolin Clubs from (according to them) the 1890s. I wonder if you can tell the makes of any of these instruments?

    LA High School Guitar-Mandolin Club 1

    LA High School Guitar-Mandolin Club 2

  24. #23
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    I just thumbed through my not very comprehensive library of guitar books, and I did not see any other guitars with the distinguishing white block inlay at the end of the fretboard. Unfortunately, there were no Harwood photos either.

    According to my father, at the turn of the century (1900), the only Jenkins stores outside Kansas City were in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Oklahoma City. He said they did have a mail order business, and this might explain the Harwood instruments on the West Coast. He also said that they did build some instruments in a shop located on the top floor of the building at 1015 Walnut in KC.

    Thanks for the info everybody.

    Bob

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    Bob -- please contact me offlist at bgraham@kcstar.com -- thanks.

    bg

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Boy these Harwoods seem to be showing up now that this thread started: Harwood Mandolinetto
    Jim

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