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Thread: Harwood mandolins and guitars

  1. #51

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    I'd guess the 2 is a model number. Martin's parlor size guitars were called style 2 if I'm not mistaken. I have a similar guitar (Bay State label) with a similar stamp on the end with an E in the analogous location above the serial. The bridge is also similar, but without the big goofy saddle.

  2. #52
    Registered User bluegrassforme's Avatar
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    There is a circa 1927 flat back Harwood mandolin currently offered for sale at Retrofret.com,NFI.

  3. #53
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Here's a Harwood parlor guitar currently for sale on e-bay.

    <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Harwood-Vintage-Antique-Parlor-Guitar-Luthier-Project_W0QQitemZ190207214881QQihZ009QQcateg
    oryZ118982QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">Harwood parlor guitar</a>

  4. #54
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    Don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but Gregg Miner just posted his yearly update to the Knutsen Archives that has a bunch of new research on the Payne photo mentioned earlier. In it he details how he may have discovered the ORIGINAL photograph, and our subsequent efforts to catalog the instruments pictured. Well worth a read! BTW, lots of great new wacky instruments in this year's update, including my first-ever Knutsen purchase, a Harp-mandolin archived as HM-28. Woot! This mando got a thorough going-over by luthier Kerry Char, and now plays and sounds great!

    Anyhow, back to the Payne photo. One surprise was Gregg determined the original image was actually FOUR photos pasted together! So it was possible that many of the instruments were re-used several times. It took some careful photo-interpretation to try to figure out how many of the instruments were actually unique. While Gregg concentrated on the Knutsens, I tried to look for Harwoods (mainly just by looking for inlay blocks - if we later find out there were other makers using them, I'm screwed!).

    In early drafts of the story, Gregg included a lot of my Harwood count. But his site is about Knutsen, not about Harwood or Payne. So we agreed to leave out the more esoteric stuff. I'll post it here just in case it benefits anyone doing Jenkins research, as this is probably one of the largest number of Harwoods photographed in one setting. I also have a detailed spreadsheet listing all the instruments that I can recognize and their positions in the (composite) photo. If anyone would like this file just PM me and I'll gladly share it. It is by no means a perfect document - I would ask others who are far more adept at bowlback mandolins to please look it over to see whether there are any errors.

    BTW I also did a lot of digging through LA archives for info on Lester Payne, the school's Director. It turned out he spent a lot of his life as a poultry expert in California - imagine that, mandolins and chickens, LOL!

    Here's my Payne photo research I originally emailed to Gregg:

    **

    (Please note, my labeling system is slightly different from yours as I count every player - i.e. UL-1-1 would mean Upper Left photo quadrant, first row, first player from L-R)

    There at least 16 unique mandolins - as that's the number in the LR quad alone. Of these, 13 definitely have inlay blocks, so I would assume that to be the minimum number of unique Harwood mandolins.

    Within these 13, there are at least 4 "fancy" Harwood bowlbacks. IDed from the headstock, purfling, and body/bowl binding. I think it's the model pictured here. There are four of these in every quadrant except the LL, in which there are only three examples.

    There are also at least 1-2 examples of at least 3 different Harwood models in each quadrant.


    Of the 23 total parlor guitars pictured, 18 have visible inlay blocks.

    5 of the 23 are obviously unique (one of these a Harwood):
    <ul>[*]UL-3-2 (natural finish, no inlay block, fancy fret markers, fancy purfling, some kind of inlay on headstock)
    [*]UL-3-4 (a larger but fairly plain guitar with dot markers, no inlay block)
    [*]UR-2-1 (natural finish, fancy markers, no inlay block, block inlay on headstock)
    [*]UR-3-2 (a spectacular black Harwood with a tree-of-life fretboard inlay + inlay block)
    [*]LL-4-1 (natural finish, floating bridge, hourglass-shaped tailpiece)[/list]
    The rest can be broken up into three different types, all apparently Harwoods with inlay blocks:

    <ul>[*]at least 4-5 black top, with dot markers
    [*]at least 2 black top, with fancy fret markers
    [*]at least 1-2 natural top, with dot markers (it is possible some of the ones that look black are really natural finish but just in shadow)[/list]

    So here's the smallest number of instruments required to take the picture:
    <ul>[*]10 Knutsens
    [*]12 Other Guitars (8 with Harwood inlay blocks)
    [*]16 Mandolins (13 with Harwood inlay blocks, and 4 of those being quite fancy)
    [*]1 Waldo Mandocello
    [*]1 Harp[/list]
    However it's worth noting the Cadenza caption specifically mentions 75 members playing simultaneously at the concert in Spokane - and there are 75 members pictured here. So it's possible NONE of the instruments are duplicated, and the photographer only spliced together the photos because he didn't have a large enough studio to fit the whole class in one sitting. Which would make all this counting a complete waste of time!

    Other Musings/Crackpot Theorizing about this photo and Paul Ruppa's other Payne/Harwood photos:

    The lower two quad photos are definitely taken from a different camera-subject distance (note how the adults in the upper quads appear larger). So it's possible some of the "mandolins" in the back rows of the lower quads might be mandolas. This might also explain some minor size variations in the guitars of different quads.

    Considering the 1902 date of this photo, I wonder if Knutsen's "suite" of HGs was meant to impress Jenkins/Harwood (through Payne) into being a distributor? Funny how Dyer handles everything except WA and CA, two places were there's some kind of Jenkins presence. Or maybe this marked the beginning of a short-lived relationship with Jenkins (similar to how the Delano picture seems to commemorate Knutsen's brief foray into Kona production). Or am I getting my dates/events mixed up?

    I can find other mentions of the Harwood Mandolin and Guitar Club in LA before Payne, but none after him. There's no evidence they ever had as many members as pictured in WA, as the events they played were very small. I think the KC group was about the size of the Harwood groups in LA. #

    I can find nothing about Payne that's non-poultry-related in the 'teens-'20s. And other than the 1890s references (and a few classified ads for used instruments), I can't find anything about Harwood as a brand in LA papers.

    Judging from the backdrops, the 1901 sheet music photo was taken by the same photographer as the 1902 Cadenza shot (Loryea). Maybe someone who could be tracked down in Seattle? I wonder if the negatives still exist in an archive somewhere. In any case, the earlier photo might have even been taken on the same day, though key people are wearing different clothes... The 1901 photo shows the true size of the photographer's studio, though.

    Mr. Schermerhorn is playing mandolin in the 1901 photo, while a small child is holding the Waldo from the 1902 shot. Somehow I don't think she's holding down the bottom end in this group, so I'm betting either this kid is Schermerhorn's or Payne's (this would fit, as Payne had a small daughter). I would guess whoever owns the kid owns the Waldo.

    The 1901 photo shows pickguards on many of the mandolins, but I can't make out any on the 1902 photo. Could you see any on the original? Maybe the photo is faded, or it's just gone through too many generations for me to see?

    **

    So that's it. Hope that helps somebody; if anyone out there could help me ID some of the bowlbacks or if you know any more about whether Jenkins ever dealt with Knutsen, I'd appreciate you letting me and/or Gregg know.

    Darrell

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    Thanks for your hard work, Darrell. It's good to have this stuff archived.

    That photo of the Payne school disturbs me. The differences in lighting, exposure, focus, and head size from quadrant to quadrant is so "not quite right." For example, heads aparantly closer to the camera that look smaller than those that should be farther away. The effect reminds me of the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper LP. The brain senses that something isn't right.

    The original photos would have been taken with a view camera and glass plate negatives in a studio with skylights. Probably there were four 8x10 inch negatives, or possibly 4x5. Contact proofs would have been made of these, then someone would have put them together, using a knife and glue. Then the composite would have been photographed. All in all, a rather successful shoot.

    I used to live in a log cabin that is now about 215 years old. When the Payne photo was taken, my cabin in Pennsylvania was being used as a photo studio, according to the town history book. When I was restoring the cabin, I found about five hundred glass plate negatives poured down into a space between two walls. They were covered with dust. I washed them carefully and printed contact prints of a couple dozen--people from the town, shot in the cabin, with the usual background and props. I don't recall if there were any mandolins in the photos, but there may well have been. I gave the collection to the local historical society, where it is probably now rotting.




  6. #56
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Yesterday, Bill Graham and I took a trip out to our fine local fiddle shop, Wyatt's, to take a look at some Harwood fiddles that they had taken in as part of a lot purchase from a KC area collector. In amongst the fiddles were several bowlback mandolins and one of them was this Harwood. Of course I had to buy it, and since Bill already owns one (see Bill's column here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/pub...s_001032.shtml), he declined. This one is serial number 20182 and has the "Harwood - New York" oval stamped on the back of the headstock, and the Harwood trademark triangle stamped on the neck block. It's in good shape, and other than the funky pick guard replacement, it appears to be all original. Bill and I have also managed to acquire a Harwood guitar each. Mine's under-going a bit of restoraration at Mass Street Music right now.

    We're still researching the history of these fine instruments. If anyone has come across any new information, please contact us.

    Bob Jenkins
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  7. #57

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    That is ashamed. If not for that bathroom wall pickgaurd that would be a fine looking mandolin. Is it still playable?
    Bill Snyder

  8. #58
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Yeah - that pick guard is something else. I posted a thread on the repair forum for advice on how to remove it. It's glued on there solid. But yes, it's very playable. The strings are even in decent shape. It tunes up fine and stays in tune. The action is a little higher than I like, so I'll have to work on that. It's loud, but doesn't sound as sweet as Bill's. That may be due to the strings.

    Bob

  9. #59

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I have a Harwood parlor guitar I inherited from my grandfather. He and my great grandfather had a music store in Warrensburg Mo. My Harwood has the New York stamp (in a triangle) in couple of places. If anyone would like to know more, let me know.

    Brian

  10. #60

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I've had a couple of Harwood parlor guitars --I've tried to research Jenkins a little and pretty much found out nothing more than what has already appeared here. I kind of thought of Harwood as my own little secret. The guitars were, I think, every bit as good as a Martin from the same period (+ - 1900) with a fraction of the cost. It was pretty common for music stores and distributors to have their own branded instruments made for them. There could be Harwood trumpets and things out there as well who knows?. With that said when you come across an old instrument like this you can usually make a pretty good guess as to the actual builders (it looks like a Regal made,A Schmidt or a Larson made etc.) The Harwoods were a little different, like it was a smaller scale builder and I've thought maybe they did make them themselves after all. I've never come upon a Harwood mandolin. Gee, with a member of the family involved who better to research this. County records? No old relatives with long memories? Names of old employees? I hope if you do find out something that you post it here.

  11. #61
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Barney,

    Bill Graham and I are still researching the Harwoods. The only living relative with a long memory is my father who was born in 1925. This was after the Harwood's heyday. The Jenkins Music Company records no longer exist unfortunately. My father made an attempt to explore the old store at 1217 Walnut in Kansas City before it was torn down to make way for the AT&T Pavilion parking garage. The doors were padlocked and he could not get in. Since it was an historic building, AT&T was required to leave the original art-deco facade intact, and it now fronts part of the parking garage.

    Bill and I are exploring some other avenues to dig up records from other sources.

    Bob Jenkins

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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    There is a Harwood bowl-back on Ebay right now:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=330345300848

    Very attractive instrument. Looks well made.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  13. #63
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Thanks for the link Capt. E. As I've commented to several people, I've never seen two Harwoods - mandolins or guitars, that are exactly alike. This one appears to have a non-original tailpiece and bridge. I suspect the pick guard is non-original as well - I've never seen a wooden one. Looks like it's in decent overall condition. From the Harwood mandos I've seen, this one would be on the low end of the hierarchy. I have seen one that was even plainer - it appeared to have a pressed wood bowl instead of a ribbed bowl. The wood in the bowl was very thin. It did have a celluloid pick guard however.

    Bob

  14. #64

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    There is an old J.W Jenkins catalogue up on eBay that I just came across, & was reminded of this thread..

    300336812735 ( perhaps a kind Cafe member could provide a link ?)

    The seller has posted some very detailed photos, & there's all sorts of interesting stuff in there...everything from those "reverse-scroll" Regal mandolins to Gibson F4's, Martin ukuleles, Gibson guitars etc.

    Not my auction, & not intending to bid, BTW, just thought it might be of interest to those researching Jenkins/Harwood..

    Cheers, all.
    Jeff

  15. #65
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Here's the link:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

    Sold for $120. I wish the seller had been a little more date-specific. I have a copy on CR-ROM of a 1929 Jenkins catalog. It includes several of the later era Harwood brand guitars and Mandolins that we suspect were not made by Jenkins, but probably made by Regal in Chicago. The Harwood guitars in this catalog bear a very close resemblance to the Martins shown just a few pages later in the same catalog.

    The 1920's Ebay catalog shows several Royal and Washington guitars and mandolins, which were Jenkins brands, but lower in the hierarchy than the Harwoods. The Washington guitars bear a strong resemblance to Bruno guitars. Too bad he didn't show scans of the Harwood pages. As far as we have been able to determine, the 1920's Harwoods were not made in Kansas City by Jenkins.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Gotta love the exotic harmonicas on the next-to-last photo of page enlargements.

  17. #67
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Yep - these old catalogs are fascinating. Here's a link to a 1907/08 Bruno catalog that's up for auction now:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/C-BRUNO-SON-N-Y-...%3D2%26ps%3D33

    Check out the color drawings of those Hohner squeeze-boxes. Amazing.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Bob, and others..

    Gregg Miner's new Dyer Page in the Knutsen Archives has a link to a searchable PDF archive of Music Trade Review Magazine.

    I'm sure those of you more versed in Jenkins/Harwood history can lose yourself for days in there. I just did a cursory search and found the following:

    From 1895:

    Contract Cancelled.
    THE contract of January, 1889, between John C. Haynes & Co., of Boston, and J. W. Jenkins' Sons, of Kansas City, for the exclusive manufacture of "Harwood" guitars by John C. Haynes & Co., and by which the sales of the popular "Bay State" guitars in certain territory was prohibited, was cancelled January 1, 1895, by mutual consent. Messrs. Jenkins' Sons are to manufacture the "Harwood" guitars upon their own premises, and Messrs. Haynes & Co. are free to sell "Bay State" guitars wherever they please. It is agreeable to state that' unbroken friendly feelings have existed from the first.
    And from 1903:

    SOME JENKINS LITERATURE.
    From the J. W. Jenkins' Sons Music Co., Kansas City, Mo., we are in receipt of a beautifully printed brochure which conveys a comprehensive knowledge of the resources of their house which is so well and favorably known in the Southwest. The illustrations show exterior view of their premises and interior views of the offices and warerooms, the special parlors devoted to the Steinway, Vose, Knabe, Ludwig, as well as the recital hall on the fourth floor. There are also views of the piano repair department and interior views of the Jenkins factory, which is devoted to the manufacture of the Harwood guitars and mandolins.
    Perhaps some more digging can find the actual brochure? Would love to see pictures of the factory..

    In any case I hope if any Jenkins/Harwood scholars find anything new in there they post it here. I need to do some more digging on Payne.

    Darrell

  19. #69

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I have a Harwood mandolinetto...the strings are a little high due to slight body warpage thru the years, but it still plays well and had a big voice for a tiny instrument..has a beautiful finish and original canvas covered trapdoor style case..(inserts into the end of the case)it has the shape of a guitar, but 8 strings and full length fretboard. smilar instruments found in 1902, 1904, and 1907 Sears and Roebuck catalog
    Last edited by Scott Tichenor; Oct-10-2010 at 7:55am. Reason: Please limit selling to the Classifieds per out guidelines

  20. #70

    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Hi Bob: I hope you're still on that quest. I have a Harwood parlor guitar, built approx 1930. I did a bit of phoning and reading, and came up with some info that sounds credible.

    Sadly, I didn't write down the name or phone number of my best source... a guitar collector and merchant in Brooklyn.
    This fellow said your family company made many instruments, and contracted out the manufacture of many others. Guitars, violins, mandolins, pianos. At one point J.W. Jenkins' Sons was the largest retailer and distributor of instruments and sheet music in the midwest. But you probably know that part.

    My interest was in their guitar business. The fellow in Brooklyn said outside Kansas City, Jenkins was known as a wholesaler, distributing the major brands from Minnesota to Texas.

    In addition, they distributed instruments under their own brands: Harwood, Washington, Clifford, Standard, and Royal. Each brand was priced to be just below a comparable national brand. Harwood was the top company brand, priced to compete with Martin or Gibson.

    Apparently these brands applied to a range of instruments. I've attached a scan of the envelope that once contained a violin string. It mentions all the brands, with no mention of particular instruments.

    For guitars, Jenkins would contract the manufacture on a year-by-year basis. Most of the guitars were made in the Chicago area, by one of the big makers -- Harmony, Regal, Kay, Stromberg-Voisinet. Jenkins would specify the features they wanted. The lowest bid would come from a company that had surplus materials that year, or that had a slow year, and wanted to keep their employees on payroll.

    Most people believe Jenkins didn't keep detailed records of which contractors they used at different times. You generally have to compare features and look for construction techniques that are associated with one company or another. When in doubt, the best guess is Harmony, because they were the biggest maker of guitars at that time.

    Sometime around the turn of the century Jenkins built its own factory. But I can't find information about which instruments they built there. Maybe you have more complete knowledge by now.

    In the guitar world, the Harwood brand is associated with harp guitars. I don't know if the Jenkins company focused its attention on harp guitars for that brand. Or if the harp guitars were more likely to survive for decades, because they had to be built to take the extra tension of all those strings. Many "regular" parlor guitars from that period were too lightly braced, and they came apart eventually.

    I hope this information is helpful. I have some photos of my Harwood, before and after it was restored, which I'd be happy to send you. Let me know.

    cheers,
    George Jamieson









    Quote Originally Posted by KanMando View Post
    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
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails violin.pdf  

  21. #71

    Question Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I was trying to decide what to do with some very old magazines and a catalogue that I inherited. The catalogue was from J.W. Jenkins' Sons Music Co. In the catalogue were Harwood guitars. I decided to google Harwood guitars, and that is how I found your post. I do not know what year the catalogue is from, but it was with some Literary Digest magazines from 1900 and 1901. The front cover is off, water damaged, and torn. There is no back cover. But the pages are still well preserved in spite of the rough shape of the book in general. I would be happy to send this to you, if you are interested. I was just going to donate it to a museum along with the magazines, but it would be nice for it to go to someone who might appreciate it more. If you are interested, just email me at kdanr@yahoo.com
    Dan


    Quote Originally Posted by KanMando View Post
    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

  22. #72
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    kdanr, are there mandolins and/or harp guitars in the catalog? Is there any way for you to post scans here?

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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by George J View Post
    Hi Bob: I hope you're still on that quest. I have a Harwood parlor guitar, built approx 1930. I did a bit of phoning and reading, and came up with some info that sounds credible.

    Sadly, I didn't write down the name or phone number of my best source... a guitar collector and merchant in Brooklyn.
    This fellow said your family company made many instruments, and contracted out the manufacture of many others. Guitars, violins, mandolins, pianos. At one point J.W. Jenkins' Sons was the largest retailer and distributor of instruments and sheet music in the midwest. But you probably know that part.

    My interest was in their guitar business. The fellow in Brooklyn said outside Kansas City, Jenkins was known as a wholesaler, distributing the major brands from Minnesota to Texas.

    In addition, they distributed instruments under their own brands: Harwood, Washington, Clifford, Standard, and Royal. Each brand was priced to be just below a comparable national brand. Harwood was the top company brand, priced to compete with Martin or Gibson.

    Apparently these brands applied to a range of instruments. I've attached a scan of the envelope that once contained a violin string. It mentions all the brands, with no mention of particular instruments.

    For guitars, Jenkins would contract the manufacture on a year-by-year basis. Most of the guitars were made in the Chicago area, by one of the big makers -- Harmony, Regal, Kay, Stromberg-Voisinet. Jenkins would specify the features they wanted. The lowest bid would come from a company that had surplus materials that year, or that had a slow year, and wanted to keep their employees on payroll.

    Most people believe Jenkins didn't keep detailed records of which contractors they used at different times. You generally have to compare features and look for construction techniques that are associated with one company or another. When in doubt, the best guess is Harmony, because they were the biggest maker of guitars at that time.

    Sometime around the turn of the century Jenkins built its own factory. But I can't find information about which instruments they built there. Maybe you have more complete knowledge by now.

    In the guitar world, the Harwood brand is associated with harp guitars. I don't know if the Jenkins company focused its attention on harp guitars for that brand. Or if the harp guitars were more likely to survive for decades, because they had to be built to take the extra tension of all those strings. Many "regular" parlor guitars from that period were too lightly braced, and they came apart eventually.

    I hope this information is helpful. I have some photos of my Harwood, before and after it was restored, which I'd be happy to send you. Let me know.

    cheers,
    George Jamieson
    George - thanks for the information and the scans of the string package. The store address, 921-923 Main Street, is the second home of the company in Kansas City. From our research, we think that the original Harwood shop was on the top floor of this building before a separate factory was built.

    Bob

  24. #74
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by kdanr View Post
    I was trying to decide what to do with some very old magazines and a catalogue that I inherited. The catalogue was from J.W. Jenkins' Sons Music Co. In the catalogue were Harwood guitars. I decided to google Harwood guitars, and that is how I found your post. I do not know what year the catalogue is from, but it was with some Literary Digest magazines from 1900 and 1901. The front cover is off, water damaged, and torn. There is no back cover. But the pages are still well preserved in spite of the rough shape of the book in general. I would be happy to send this to you, if you are interested. I was just going to donate it to a museum along with the magazines, but it would be nice for it to go to someone who might appreciate it more. If you are interested, just email me at kdanr@yahoo.com
    Dan
    kdanr - thanks for the offer of the Jenkins literature. I would love to have anything you've got. I sent a message to your Yahoo email.

    Bob

  25. #75
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harwood mandolins and guitars

    I just received this unique Harwood mandolinetto that I bought from a fellow Cafe member. It has Brazilian rosewood sides and back, a mahogany neck, and spruce top. The eagle inlayed in the pickguard is made from mother of pearl with abablone on the top of the wings. This is the only Harwood we've seen that has a mother of pearl Harwood inlay in the fretboard. All the others were ivoroid. It has the oval "Harwood New York" stamp on the back of the headstock, and the Harwood triangle logo on the neck block. There is a volute at the neck/headstock junction which we've seen on mandolins, but not on guitars. It plays fine. Really loud when strummed. Very little sustain on individual picked notes - almost banjo like.





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