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Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin

GUEST 15 Oct 13 - 10:24 PM
Uncle Phil 15 Oct 13 - 10:37 PM
Seamus Kennedy 16 Oct 13 - 01:19 AM
Seamus Kennedy 16 Oct 13 - 01:22 AM
SonnyWalkman 16 Oct 13 - 03:45 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Oct 13 - 10:34 AM
Uncle Phil 16 Oct 13 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,auntiedanie 23 Jun 14 - 01:16 AM
meself 23 Jun 14 - 01:36 AM
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Subject: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 10:24 PM

Here's one for you musical instrument fans. This mando (Mando Photo 1, Mando Photo 2, Mando Photo 3, Mando Photo 4, Mando Photo 5, Mano Photo 6, Mando Photo 7) followed me home yesterday. After removing a layer of grime, degunking the tuners so they would turn, and replacing very rusty strings I was delighted to find that it looks and sounds great. There is a large "Joseph Bohmann" label on the inside and I found information about him on the international google web. There is also a handwritten serial number. I haven't, however, been able to date the instrument. There is a hole in tailpiece for a strap button, but the strap button is missing.

Anyone have ideas on dating the mando or where to find a strap button that is correct for the period?

There is a patent number on the tuning gear plate with a patent date of Dec 8,1891 so it stands to reason that the instrument can't be any older than that. The inside label has pictures of medals won at the Paris exposition of 1889. Looking at pictures of other Bohmann labels online I see that some of them have pictures of those medals and pictures of similar medals for other expositions in 1893, 94 ,and 95. I wonder if that would help to date the mando. The handwritten serial number is 141XXX.

Thanks, Phil


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 10:37 PM

Guest above is me. Sorry about that.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:19 AM

Lovely inlay work, and it seems to be in great shape, Phil. As regards strap buttons, try Stewart McDonald or StewMac.


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:22 AM

stewmac


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: SonnyWalkman
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 03:45 AM

Try going to http://www.mandolincafe.com/ , I'm sure someone there will know.


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:34 AM

If you don't find something at mondolincafe, some of the guys from "Mass Street Music" (Lawrence KS) have seemed to include quite a concentration of mando people at Winfield. The store does appear to be pretty heavily into decent older instruments, so someone there might be able to provide some information - if you can find the right one or two of them.

They usaully have camped near the main entrance, roughly between the ticket booth and Billigan's Island.

Note that I've never interrogated any of them (at least not with the bright light and a rubber hose) to see if they really know anything. They do seem to be at least one of the most active dealers in "used instruments" that I've seen in the region, although there may be comparable ones in Big D or nearby.

Of course you'd have to wait for next September to catch them there, but it's only about 550 miles (each way) to take a run up there and talk to 'em. (You might want to call, or drop them an email first?)

John


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 12:44 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. John, the Mass Music guys had guitars and ukes with them this year but no mandos that I saw. They did have 3 Martins from the 1930s with them, including a 12 fret slot head dread that I seriously coveted. Alas, it was far out of my price range.

I talked electronically about interior labels with some harp guitar guys (Bohmann was also built harp guitars). The first label anyone had seen was the one with pictures of the 1889 medals, like the one in my mando. The next one had pictures of the additional medals through 1895. The newest label had all of the medals 1889 through 1895 plus one from 1899. If we assume that Bohmann didn't start using the "1895" labels until 1896 that would put the date for my mando between 1891 (the patent date) and 1896 (the assumed date of the label change).

I also saw a couple references that said that Bohmann was the first American manufacturer of mandolins, follow a couple years later by Lyon and Healy. Also got a line on a guy who is reputed to know everything about Bohmann's instruments and I am trying to contact him.


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: GUEST,auntiedanie
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 01:16 AM

Who is this person that knows everything about Bolmann's instruments? Did you ever contacat him and what did he say?


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Subject: RE: Dating an old Joseph Bohmann mandolin
From: meself
Date: 23 Jun 14 - 01:36 AM

I've been trying to date a young Taylor guitar, but I keep getting the cold shoulder ....


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