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Thread: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

  1. #1

    Default Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    Hello everyone,
    I am new to the forum and need help to ID this mandolin for a school project.
    It was found in Illinois and donated to the museum I work at.
    I am thinking maybe early 1900s - the style is similar to May Flower mandolins produced in Chicago around that time - however there is no identifying information inside the body. Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    The tuners put it after 1900. Chicago was a major manufacturing area for musical instruments with Lyon and Healy, Harmony, Kay (originally Stromberg-Voisenet). and the second Regal Company with the original being in Indianapolis. There were other builders such as Bohmann and the Larson Brothers as well. This is a mandolin that was built "For the trade" with no brand name. That way a music school or teacher or a retailer could sell it as their own brand. They might have labeled or they might not. All of the major Chicago builders built for the trade. The butterfly was a common inlay. The headstock shape was common to a few builders. The inlay around the sound hole and the body are also common items sold by jobbers to multiple builders. A guess would be that it was built by Lyon and Healy as they were the largest builder but it could have been built by a slew of other builders that were not in Chicago. Either way, and identification is going to be a guess.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    Wow, thanks a lot for the detailed information! Would tuners of this era be Bakelite or some other material?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    Your photos have not captured the whole instrument. The tuner buttons will be celluloid. They may predate Bakelite which was devised in 1907. Here is a very similar instrument identified as made by Regal in Indianapolis- rather than later in Chicago:

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...-mandolin.html

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    Wow, thanks that looks just like it! Unfortunately I could not hold the instrument and take a picture at the same time, so the back of the headstock, machine heads and bowl are not pictured.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need an ID on Neapolitan style bowback

    I could not see all of the instrument- the number of staves or the tuner units but what I could see suggested it be be very similar- and you reckon it is the same. Obviously, it would appear to be a good instrument type based on Jake Wildwood's analysis. Whether or not your mandolin needs any work is not possible to know without a close examination. The bridge on your mandolin is different to the one Jake worked on. I don't know if his example had a replaced bridge. Looking at the bridge on your mandolin it looks to my eye to be newer than perhaps the mandolin's build era. I may be wrong but it looks like what you see from the 20s or 30s.
    Here is another of Jake's posts showing an 1890s Regal made mandola- the bridge looks more like an original. However, yours may be an original bridge but I don't think so.

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...k-mandola.html

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