Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Hi there! I have this old bowlback mandolin, inherited from my great aunt though I believe it belonged to my great grandfather, and I don't know how to identify it or if making a positive ID is even possible. I know with these old mandolins they tend to be missing any identifying marks, though this one has what looks like a serial number stamped into the wood on top of the headstock.

    I'm not sure if it might help to know my great grandfather came to NYC from Sicily in 1920 and probably either bought or was given this mandolin sometime after that. I certainly don't think he brought it over with him.

    I love the tuning pegs; they have this beautiful kind of grain or pattern in them, and I don't know what they're made of. Maybe ivory, like the inlay and binding?

    Doing research online, I was able to find two mandolins that have some of the same parts as this one. I found the same pick guard here: https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...dolin.html?m=1
    and what appears to be the same tailpiece here: https://copblock.org/items/Vintage-W...489245678.html

    If anybody has any idea of when and where it was made, what materials were used, or really any info at all, I would greatly appreciate your input. Thank you!

    (Sorry, I know the pics aren't the best)
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080053.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	352.8 KB 
ID:	196118Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080101.jpg 
Views:	32 
Size:	257.2 KB 
ID:	196119Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080211.jpg 
Views:	37 
Size:	255.3 KB 
ID:	196120Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080218.jpg 
Views:	34 
Size:	301.8 KB 
ID:	196121Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080358.jpg 
Views:	36 
Size:	348.4 KB 
ID:	196122Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080421.jpg 
Views:	36 
Size:	208.4 KB 
ID:	196123Attachment 196124Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080109.jpg 
Views:	40 
Size:	243.2 KB 
ID:	196125Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210903_080505.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	166.1 KB 
ID:	196126

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Looks like US-made instrument to me. I am not the expert in US-made ones, so hopefully other members will give you more info.

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,892

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Not an expert, but --

    The instrument does look US-made. The tailpiece seems to be an engraved variant of the common "cloud" tailpiece found on many American-made instruments. Lyon & Healy, large Chicago manufacturer, stamped serial numbers into the top of the headstocks of their Washburn series instruments in the mid-to-late 1890's. I'm not saying this is a Washburn, since those instruments were also clearly labeled inside the bowl, but it could be L & H made.

    As to the tuner buttons, I suspect "grained Ivoroid," a celluloid plastic used to mimic ivory in instrument bindings and tuners.

    The closest thing I could find to the headstock profile was a catalog shot of a Perfacktone flat-back instrument, made by Regal, from 1928. Only benefit of this is to show that Regal did make instruments with a similar headstock shape, but I couldn't find a c.1900 Regal bowl-back depicted with that headstock.

    I'm sure other, more qualified bowl-backers will chime in.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  4. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  5. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    28,629

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Off the top of my head I would say it was made by Weymann of Philadelphia. They used that shape pickguard. I can check my computer files for similar ones. Probably made near the beginning of the 20th century.

    ———
    whoops well.... I didn’t look at Jake’s example linked above but that pickguard is unique to Weymann.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  7. #5

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Jim is right, I am sure- that engraved flower motif on the tailpiece is seen on Weymann mandolins.

  8. The following members say thank you to NickR for this post:


  9. #6

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    I just found this listing last night--- https://www.elderly.com/products/wey...-mandolin-1915

    You're certainly right! Thank you so much for helping to solve the mystery

  10. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    24,859

    Default Re: Help IDing old bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Jim is right, I am sure- that engraved flower motif on the tailpiece is seen on Weymann mandolins.
    There are a few engraved cloud covers that were available from jobbers that appear on multiple instruments from different makers. If you look at the one that the OP linked to you'll find them on MayBell and other makes up through the 30's. I don't think they can be tied specifically to Weymann.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •