European Makers, Importers and Distributors post WWII click for more

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(GodWillies) Lorenzo Acoustic Soprano Ukulele Corner
My friends Lorenzo
In Europe the second wave of Ukulele popularity didn't really happen. There was no trucking across the Pacific, via Hawaii, to Occupied Japan. There was no nightly entertainment from Arthur Godfrey and George Formby went out of fashion. Post war Europe was a place of austerity and rebuilding without the frivolity of playing small musical instruments and by the time the austerity was over it was all Rock'n'Roll and electric Guitars. The music industry in Europe was much reduced, especially in the UK where manufacturing all but ended. There were a few firms to start up in this time though, in Germany it was seen as a safe industry to start up again and the arrival of instruments from the far east led to a few new importer/distributors some of whom tried the market for Ukuleles.

Fletcher, Coppock and Newman

Established in 1965 when two smaller family firms united, they were originally based in Shelton Street in London, and was apparently the first UK company to import Guitars from Japan. In 1974 it moved to Tonbridge, and again in 2001 to Crowborough; the firm closed in 2012. At the time of them being in London they had a brand of Guitars and other Chordophones including a Japanese made 5 hook Banjolele, called Sheltone (probably from the street name? I have also seen it said the this brand was distributed by A.L.Schitnasty and Co but if you actually pronounce the name you may think, like me, that this is a joke nome de plume - plus I have seen Sheltone Guitars with labels saying they were made for Fletcher, Coppock and Newman.) Over the years they have distributed a number of other brands including Lorenzo and Sierra, (not the same as the US Sierra), Guitars and Ukuleles plus other brands of Guitar, Drums, Keyboards and other musical equipment. I have heard they had some instrument they branded Kent but I have no firm evidence of this and one of the sources just said percussion, (and the was a US drum maker called E.W.Kent), and having seen nothing it could be they were distributing in Europe for Buegeleisen and Jacobson?
J.T.Coppock ltd., one of the firms that united to make FCN use to brand firstly Egmond and then Japanese made instruments, including Ukuleles, as Antoria


History lesson, now pay attention! After WWII the ethnic German luthiers who had been living in Sudetenland, (pre war Czecho-Slovakia and whose annexation by Hitler was one of the precursors of the war), and working for Alfred Borst and Karl Höfner amongst others, were deported to Germany proper (so Germany would never again have territorial claims on the area). In 1946 German entrepreneur Fred Wilfer got the Refugee Commission to send them to Moehrendorf where he set up a factory and Framus was born. In 1948 the factory moved to modern new premises in Bubenreuth giving them one of the most up to date factories in the world at the time. In the late 1950 they changed emphasis to producing mainly electric instruments and opened a second factory in Pretzfeld. At this time Framus was the biggest Guitar maker in Europe. However towards the end of the 1970's with all of the cheaper Far Eastern imports Framus was bankrupt and production almost ceased. In 1995 the Framus name was resurrected by the U.S. Music Corp and they are still going today but USM only use Framus to brand Electric Guitars and Amps.
Due to the bankruptcy of the company when almost the whole archives were lost they are looking for contemporary witnesses and information about Framus if you know anything please do contact the Framus Museum
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