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Thread: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

  1. #1
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    I have a mandolin I found in a junk shop with an unusual chip-carved headstock: the maker (Hensel?) carved his name and the model name in inset relief between the tuning pegs. The dealer/luthier who set it up for me indentified it as being the work of one Arthur Hensel, a luthier who made guitars and mandolins in Toronto in the forties. I have no idea how he knew this, but he did show me another, a guitar someone had brought in for a tune up.

    I haven't been able to learn anything else about the maker. Does anyone know anything about him?

    There's a Hensel guitar in this mammoth lot of miscellaneous instruments:
    http://www.insightsconsulting.biz/In...s/musicoll.htm --number 161, if you scroll down (There's also an early Gibson mandola, if you're curious, and soem very old guitars), but no information, although the pic does show his signature technique.

    My mandolin has "artist" across the top, and "Hensel" between the pegs, as well as a flower or rose in a losenge. My informant tells me that "artist" was the name of the model.

    I'd be grateful for any more info.
    And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

    C.S. Lewis

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    I have a picture of the carving, but I can't work out how to upload it. Does it need to be online somewhere, first?
    And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

    C.S. Lewis

  3. #3

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    To upload an image, click "ADD REPLY." #There will be a browse button to search your machine for a file to upload. #Do not use the preview feature or it will negate your filling in of the upload box.

    I know Dr. Heck, the proprietor of Insights; he used to head the music library at The Ohio State University (I work at OSU) and is a very well-respected scholar of classical guitar and music iconography. #I have corresponded with him regarding a couple pieces in that collection.

    Unfortunately, I know no more of Hensel than you've already written. #I know of the guitars but have never seen one. #I've never heard of a mandolin by Hensel.




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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

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  5. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Are there any numbers stamped inside that mandolin?
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  6. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Wow. I hope none of us were holding our breath for 11 years.

    To me this looks like an ordinary factory mandolin that someone has customized by carving on the headstock. I see nothing to indicate that it's the work of an individual luthier.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    That's why I asked about the numbers. It appears to be a mandolin built by Harmony or Regal in Chicago, probably for the trade. I didn't even notice the start date of the thread.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    I do think it's an early model and a bit more deluxe than these usually are.
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    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Sorry to revive an old thread but thought you guys would want to see this photo.
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ID:	157945Arthur Hansel is third from the left. This would be circa 1963-64. Taken in Brampton, Ontario. Mr Hansel created guitars, mandolins, resonators for several companies in Toronto.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Arthur Hansel used two spellings - Hansel and Hensel. I'm not 100% sure why he did this. Hansel was the legal spelling - AFAIK. Hope this clears the air a bit. B

  11. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Strange. If Hansel was the legal spelling, why did he use Hensel on the OP's mandolin? Maybe another store/shop used the same name?
    Jim

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Trying to anglicise the name? Trying to hide? Multiple contracts with resellers? It's likely we'll never know for sure.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    his stuff turns up around toronto quite often. there was a music store called williams that sold his instruments. the biggest in toronto for decades. they ordered a lot of instruments from luthiers in the area with the williams label or without. so maybe the spelling change was for those sold through the williams store? they aren't particularily high ens instruments but i have noticed more people are collecting them in canada over the last few years. they were cheap as dirt ten twenty years ago.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Hensel Mandolin, c.a. 1940

    Over the last 3-4 years I've seen more and more people looking for info about Arthur Hansel. He was my step-grandfather from 1962 until his death in 1971. There's no bio info available (not that I could find anyway). As a kid I had no idea how popular his instruments were. I just knew him as a kind gentleman who liked White Owl cigars. Maybe it's time to create a bio page/site? Ah yes, a little free time would come in handy right now.

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