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Thread: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

  1. #1

    Default Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    Gibson mandolins have patent numbers on fittings in certain eras. The pickguards have a number on them-below is a 1923 example I have taken from another thread. When did this practice end on the A series mandolins?

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  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    I believe right after the Loar era-late 20's.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    To be persnickety, that is a patent date, not a patent number.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    Now that you point that out I can see that it is a date. I had a look at the Mandolin Archive and that date appears to be present on instruments up to at least 1928.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    I've owned many old Gibson models and for sure the patent date isn't on any models after 1928-1929 except I have seen them on the higher end F-5 models but I think they hung around the shop for awhile finished waiting to be sold as it was the start of the Great Depression and not many high end mandolins sold! Only the great lost performers of the day could afford. I wish I could go back in time and just see what some of these guys and gals were doing-that would be a hoot for sure. My great Gramps was a drummer and great Granny was a flapper-so I was told-WILD TIMES!

    On a side note I own/steward of a 1923 Gibson MB-5 in all silver plating/Cremona finish and Loar style pearl button engraved tuners and an engraved in Loar style F-5 "The Gibson" tailpiece cover-on the end not on the front-weird right?, and the inside of the MB the inside of the rim is worn around where the label is and I asked David Harvey about it as he has one but not like mine and never seen a tailpiece like mine and said back then the guys put lights in there banjos and such so if these old things could talk, besides making music that is I just wonder????

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    I love the old Gibsons. Gibson continued to use the patent date after the patent ran out. I like how Steve Smith at Cumberland Acoustic offers the patent date option on their mandolin bridges.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    William Smith: "I wish I could go back in time and just see what some of these guys and gals were doing-that would be a hoot for sure."

    My luthier's father-in-law, who was also an outstanding luthier was born in 1907 and he told me that in 1930, he went to see Dave Apollon at the London Palladium before word got out that we was a sensational player- and his two week stint was extended to 26! He met Dave and was invited back stage. His daughter told me that their house was just full of musicians- those are her memories and she also told me: "We've had Barney Kessel in this room playing." Sadly, when I knew him, my musical knowledge did not extend back to the first half of the 20th century, so I asked him about the current and recent musicians, many of whom are household names- not those from an earlier era who were obscure by then. His daughter said he was a huge fan of Eddie Peabody who toured in the UK in about 1938 but I don't know if they met.

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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    Edits below.
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    Last edited by MarkELynch; May-08-2020 at 7:34am.
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    Default Re: Gibson A2 Pickguard Patent Number Question

    The patent date in question, March 30, 1909 relates to US patent number 916906 and was issued to Lewis A. Williams, curiously it was not assigned to the Gibson Mandolin Guitar Company so perhaps Williams received a personal royalty for its use.

    Patents in the US at that time provided protection for the inventor for a period of seventeen years beyond the grant date. Inscribing the date rather than the number presumably reinforced this time period with would be infringers. Williams’ patent would have expired on March 30, 1926 but it was common practice for the date or patent number to appear on patented parts well beyond the expiration date.

    According to Gibson researcher Joe Spann the guard was not added until the instrument was shipped so this will complicate the cut-off date for the patent date stamp. Also, existing stocks of already stamped guards could have been around for months or years before being installed so this will blur the date as well. William, thanks for checking the the instruments in your collection.

    Note that guards produced after the 1907 patent application date and before the 1909 grant date may be marked as “Patent Applied For”

    Did you know that all US patents at that time were always granted on a Tuesday? It is always a fun thing when musing about a patent date printed on some relic in an antique store to exclaim, “Ah, March 30, 1909, I think that was a Tuesday” The uninitiated bystander will think you are either crazy, wrong or brilliant!

    The US patent for the pickguard side clamp was granted July 4, 1911 before it was a federal holiday, guess what day of the week it was?


    Here s the full pickguard patent.
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    https://patentimages.storage.googlea...e/US916906.pdf
    Last edited by MarkELynch; May-08-2020 at 9:19am.
    Mark Lynch

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