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Thread: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

  1. #101

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Luthiers have been building instruments in Paracho, Mexico, reportedly since the 1700's. Possibly could have made some mandolins...? I'm not sure that's what we're looking for as an "American mandolin manufacturer" -- we may be thinking only of the US -- but Mexico's surely in North America.
    i think most people here are only counting the usa, and only the incorporated states. no french or spanish need apply

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  3. #102
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Quote Originally Posted by ollaimh View Post
    i think most people here are only counting the usa, and only the incorporated states. no french or spanish need apply
    Actually given the fact that the original Spanish students were, well, from Spain and actually played bandurrias, I think Allen’s argument is strongly valid.
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  5. #103
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Actually given the fact that the original Spanish students were, well, from Spain and actually played bandurrias, I think Allen’s argument is strongly valid.
    Leaving out French and Spanish North America doesn't leave much behind

    I've got a mandolin from Paracho and while most folks tend to pan these I find it to be a pretty dependable beater. A hand-dipped finish that is tougher what is on my car.

    The tone may be a bit muddy but the intonation is dead on... which is not something I can say about any number of older mandolins I've had cross my path.

    Nice little story on another product from Michoacan.

    Mick
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  7. #104
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I found THE Mr. Seville. Once I've reconciled some of the 'conflicting' posts and suggested timelines, I will reveal him in all his amazing splendor. Indeed! Bohmann attracted the extraordinary. As Bruce Hammond stated, we may still be stuck with a limited range between 1882-1885. That said, Bohmann was ahead of Lyon & Healy if a date can be authenticated. Unfortunately dendrochonology can't be applied to wooden mandolins...or can it?

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  9. #105
    Registered User Gan Ainm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    "...Oliver Ditson hired a young man named John C. Haynes and made him a partner in 1857..."

    Interesting- I have a simple system one keyed flute labeled "JC Haynes Boston" estimated to be around same period. An "easy player" with good intonation and nice if softer sound, once the embouchure was redone by a pro. Actually I don't have it now- it is in Bhutan(!) with an anthropologist/conservationist friend for a year. Adding my thanks to all the historians and researchers providing the erudite information.
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  11. #106

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I finished reading El Norte by the way, a good read all in all. No mention of mandolins in it though sadly.

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  13. #107
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I'm very very close to publishing my definitive history on the first American-made mandolin. I'm excited with a sense of trepidation! I think it will help future scholars to continue in the search for the first mandolin in America and the first mandolinist to play it. Stay tuned! I don't mean to be teasing but I just finished my penultimate draft and I'm happy to say that I'm really, really close to publishing it. I will make it available here and will provide a link where it can be downloaded. Thanks for your support and I'd love to hear back from everyone about my investigation. Thanks!~

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  15. #108
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?



    I'm pleased to announce my investigation about the first American-made mandolin.
    Thanks to the enormous support from many friends and a tremendous amount of time and research, I'm ready to share it with the world. See attached PDF

    And to think this all came from an obscure music circular that Joseph Bohmann issued in 1896. I look forward to hearing from you as to your thoughts.

    Best to you all and Happy Halloween! Sheri
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First_American-Made Mandolin-FINAL-10.30.2019.pdf  

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  17. #109
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I'm so sorry but I uploaded the wrong file...in my haste. Here's the final copy. as attached. Thank you!

    - - - Updated - - -

    see post #109 for correct final paper on Mr. Seville.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The_First_American-Made_Mandolin-FINAL.pdf  

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  19. #110
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Curious if pfox was persuaded or not (about Seville)...

  20. #111
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    This morning I received an email from Algernon Seville's great grandson (from his second marriage). Evidently, this man's grandfather (mentioned in footnote 66) played mandolin and his mandolin is still in the family. I've asked to see a photograph and while I doubt it is the Bohmann mandolin that Seville purchased in or about 1883, it is still exciting news to know that Seville's enthusiasm extended into his children's lives.

    Hmmm. I've uploaded the paper which includes the Glossop map. For some reason, the previous versions lacked it. So sorry. I think I get in too much of a rush. The 1884 map was quite useful in reconstructing the history of State Street, Chicago at a crucial time in the mandolin's early history.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The_First_American-Made_Mandolin_A_Riple.pdf  

  21. #112
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I'm just thrilled to say that more information has arrived about Seville's role in early mandolin history. Thanks to "Ancestry" a connection was finally made with those descendants from Algernon Seville's second marriage. I'm happy to report I've been promised photos or scans of photos of the family's mandolins and those belonging to his son James. One is a Neapolitan Valetti but the other is unknown but we will find out the model etc. It is very possible we will see what Seville played and possibly the instrument he bought from Joseph Bohmann.

    Another quick note, when Seville moved to Memphis with his second wife in the early 1890s, he founded the "Seville Mandolin Orchestra" on Main Street.
    So while I had serious doubts and could not independently verify Seville as the man who bought the mandolin from Bohmann, I can now state with certitude that this brilliant piano tuner/inventor was not only a pianola expert but "Mr. Seville" played mandolin and conducted his own orchestra. BRAVO, Seville!

  22. #113
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Thanks go out to Seville's descendants & family. Here are two images of a "Mayflower"... one of the mandolins that Seville's son James played.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  23. #114

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    i still maintain that this is the Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #115

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    were pre 1800 bandurrias metal strung? when did parachomandolins become metal strung?

  25. #116
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    ollaimh, what is that? It doesn't look American to me or even from earlier than the 1880s. Or are you just kidding?
    Jim

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  26. #117
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Quote Originally Posted by pfox14 View Post
    I am curious if anyone knows the answer to this question. Most sources seem to indicate that the mandolin was introduced to America by Italian immigrants around the 1870s-80s. The earliest ads I could find date from 1894 for Lyon & Healey/Washburn, A.C. Fairbanks, Biehl & W.A. Cole. Was it L&H? Or somebody else?

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    I just saw this book at Reverb. Sold by Carter Guitars and written by Walter Carter. The Mandolin in America.

    https://reverb.com/item/4554872-the-...ter-not-signed
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  27. #118
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    I believe that Lyon & Healy, Fairbanks and others were later--after Joseph Bohmann. Download my paper in post #111 to follow the suggested timeline for the contenders who vied for being known as the first manufacturer. In the original post, the question centers on identifying the first manufacturer, not the first mandolin that was "manu-made" or handmade. While this may be nitpicking, we all need to continue to investigate. Until I find evidence to the contrary, I firmly believe that Bohmann earned the honor and deserves to be known as the first manufacturer, albeit he was not turning out hundreds of mandolins in his first year (probably 1882 and early 1883).

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  29. #119
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kammerzell View Post
    I just saw this book at Reverb. Sold by Carter Guitars and written by Walter Carter. The Mandolin in America.

    https://reverb.com/item/4554872-the-...ter-not-signed
    Yes, this book published in 2017 does not have any other information about earlier mandolins than was quoted by Paul Fox, the original poster for this thread.
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  31. #120

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    it's a guitarre allemand i found in a barn in iowa passing through and stopped at a lawn sale. it has been dated by experts at 1760ish, give ot take. i do mean to have the dendrochronology lab in sasketchewan do a wood test some day just to congirm. came from near the old french fort, old fort st louis which operated in the 1720s. it was neither profitable nor safe from native raids. so they abandoned it, rebuilt it for two more years then gave up. the soldiers went down the the much larger french fort near st louis which had both mississippi trade in goods from the gulf and a lead and copper mine. there was a tradition of the french officers plaing these instruments. maisoneuve himself(credited with founding montreal) played this kind of cittern and lute and led an ensemble of musicians. the french officers were mostly the younger sons of aristocrats. they had excellent education, but no money so they came to new france to make their fortune. some locals rose to officer status, most notably the last great governor vaudreaul.but most played early instruments of the day.

    this one was in terrible shape except for the head stock, so i figured if the pegs work ok then the rest can be repaired. it is now all repaired. had to replace the back. waaay to many cracks and previous repairs. according to adrien le roi these were tuned in four courses to an open A . three bass strings with an over wound between two bare wire strings, and the top was two doubles. they had a pre modern frett placement so they will sound odd to modern ears. as does the old french lute frett placement. (years ago i had a lute which came with templates for the different frett placements including the french set up. made the major keys sound a little minor like and the minors eerie and a titch discordant. so they were strummed with simple chords to accompany songs and fiddle tunes. the workers(called les voyageurs ou les coureurs des bois) wouldn;t have had room in canoes to carry large instruments. they played pocket fiddles, whistles and flutes and jaw harps have been found at their camp sites, many many times. an officer who could play to the jigs and reels of les voyageurs would be very popular.

    it is certain there were instruments like these made in quebec by 1680 and within the borders of the future united states by 1700 as the french were setting up forts by then on makinac island, down to near chicago and up the rainy river to manitoba. remember the verendrye brothers made it to the rockies in british columbia by 1685--take that lewis and clark.

    so maybe the spanish had mandolins earlier but not much earlier and probably not withint the future continental united states.

    if you are interested in the french in america. e. j. eccles is an historian who is fluent in french and wrote histories using french sources, which most american historians don't use because they can't read french. (the missionary priests keep very good records, most famous are the jesuit relations) eccles general survey book:"france in america" will give you good general history.

    so it is possible this is one of the first mandolins in the future usa. but the people i bought it from had no provanence. i found it poking around the barn. they didn't even know it was there.(or the wife din't know) but the farm was a few miles from old fort st louis.(near davenport iowa) the modern st louis was called fort des chartres. the farming colony was near by. there was a large native town which was allied to the french there as well.

    so prove me wrong!!!

    i finally got strings(period iron and brass strings. ) so it needs the bredge fitted after restringing and robierre c'est vos oncles.

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  33. #121
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Ollaimh, very interesting. Can you post more photos? Also, it could easily be as old as you say but how do you prove that it was made in North America?
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  35. #122

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    Anyone interested in the history of the English Guitar might find this dissertation useful, The Guitar in the British Isles, 1750-1810. My impression from my study of the English guitar and mandolin in colonial America is that the instruments were manufactured in Europe and imported rather than being made here.

    Barry

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  37. #123
    Registered User Mandophile's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    excellent! Ollaimh! Yes, eventually, the French exported mandolins to Chicago so who knows how early that started but again, they weren't built here. I lived in Montréal and am well aware of how the culturally rich, shared border shaped the musical heritage. Please do the wood test! We all are dying to know!!

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  39. #124

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    i can't rove this one was made n america. but it's a bill mahar thing. "i don't know it for a fact but i just know it's true".

    however i think there were mandolins and citterns made in new france, provenance will be difficult to establish.Click image for larger version. 

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    these are old pictures the back was replaced, but i kept the old back. and all braces glued etc. and now i have strings. i had lutheir problems with this in toronto. i told the guy working on it not to put any finish on it. he put some on. he said the usual:"I had to". (how to make me apoplectic ), he took most off. he threw away the old peg aftoer i told him to save them.(therewere wire remnants on the pegs which gave hints as to the stringing) , two experts dated it from the frett placement, the head stoke( a tielke or a copy thereof) and the rosette. i have since seen one exactly like this with a label dating to 1752--france(ok ok mine might not be made in montreal).
    but the new lutheir did it right and ready to string).

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  41. #125

    Default Re: Who was the first American mandolin manufacturer?

    i supose if i ever get it to the dendrochronology lab he could tell if the woods were north american or european. he can date from high resolution pictures, but he can't tell if it's north american spruce from pictures. i was disappointed that the professor who runs that lab was near me at mount allison university, but when i went down there he had just moved to the university of sasketchewan. i have decided to sell this f i get a reasonable offer. or i'd trade it for the brooklyn bridge

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