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Thread: C.A. Nightingale

  1. #1

    Question C.A. Nightingale

    I have my grandfather's mandolin. The lable says "The Nightingale" and inside is says Pat. March 28, 1893 by I Nightingale. Evansville Ind.

    I remember my father playing it untill he lost several fingers in an industrial accident in the '50s. It is in a canvas case, that is falling apart. I did see a case like it on EBay, but not the mandolin itself.

    Like to know the history of it and if I should get it cleaned up or just leave it alone.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: C.A. Nightingale

    Listing in the Mugwumps Index of American Fretted Musical Instrument Makers is just "Isaiah Nightingale, Evansville IN, 1893." So other than learning that "I" stands for "Isaiah," no more information than what's on your label. However, a bit of Googling did turn up his gravestone in the Evansville cemetery; he died in 1894, so if he started building in 1893 or so, must have had a very short luthiery career.

    Apparently Nightingale's 1983 patent was for a "supplemental sound board" to be placed inside the bodies of "guitars, mandolins, zithers etc.", with a small cylinder mounted directly under the soundhole in the top. (It's Patent #494,485 if you're interested.) Does the instrument have a second sound board -- another piece of wood, parallel to the top -- inside the body? If so, it's featuring the Nightingale patent.

    Many of these "enhancements" to standard instrument construction, were installed on instruments manufactured by others. A good example is the Virzi Tone Producer, a small disc installed inside Gibson mandolins, but patented by Virzi. So Nightingale may not have made the instrument, only the supplemental sound board inside it. Or he may have made the whole thing.

    If you have the ability post pictures of your instrument, I'm sure many of us would be interested. As to what you should do with it -- well, many of us have a preference for getting instruments into playable shape, and actually playing them. That goes even for family heirlooms. If the mandolin was playable from the 1890's to the 1950's, it's probably worth getting playable again. It's quite probably an unusual instrument, in terms of rarity and design.

    Also, your thread title is "C A Nightingale." Do the "C A" initials also appear on the mandolin?
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  3. #3
    Christian Steinbrecher
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    Default Re: C.A. Nightingale

    Karen, Allen,

    I have pictures of a Nightingale, I bought it years ago but I sold it (This was a very bad idea)!

    Hope you and others who are interested in enjoy them!

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    And this was the description I used for reselling it

    Historical US made (Evansville, IN)
    Double Table
    BOWLBACK MANDOLIN
    "The Nightingale"

    Approximate 100 years old
    (please take a look to the "mugwumps" page)
    DESCRIPTION:


    BOWLBACK style with unique double table (that gives an excellent sustain)




    SOLID WOOD INSTRUMENT


    Top is spruce, minor scratches, one hairline crack

    Ebony fretboard: MOP "dots" inlays at the 3rd (flake instead dot)5th 7th and 10th, total 17 frets, some small cracks in the fretboard caused by dryness

    Probably tortoise inlaid pickguard (flush with the top)

    11 bowl ribs made of rosewood


    chrome tailpiece shell style (replaced)

    brass made original tuners, white knobs

    Measurements: in cm/ inches

    Total length, 60 cm / app. 23-4/5”
    Nut to bridge, 33 cm / app. 13-1/4”
    Nut width, 3 cm / app. 1-2/10“
    app. wide of bowl, 19 cm / app. 7-1/2”
    app. deep of bowl, 13 cm / app. 4-4/5”


    labeled

    inside the mandolin:

    "The Nightingale"
    Registered (? hard to read)
    EVANSVILLE, IN

  4. #4
    Christian Steinbrecher
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    Default Re: C.A. Nightingale

    Forgot to say: The last picture shows another Nightingale, probably it came from ebay!

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