Early Central European Manufacturers click for more

 Gebruder Schuster Ukulele from 1929 catalogue
No.1575 1929
Gebrüder Schuster
Herdim Concert or long scale Ukulele
Herdim Concert
From very early on the the Ukuleles history there have been a number of instruments coming out of Germany (or Shoenbach, Southern Bohemia, a German speaking region of Czechoslovakia) These may have originally been designed as Cavaquinhos (but there was never a big market for them?) or something else? but they were being marked before WWI as "Hawaiian Mandolins"
The problem with early central European instruments is, as well as a lack of information about the firms who made them, the instruments themselves are usually unbranded so I'm left with some illustrations from old catalogues that give makers names and photos of instruments that were made in the region but its not clear by whom? Any help would be good...

Arion

I have very little information about this maker. On the pictured Ukuleles all of the labelling is in German so it is nothing to do with the Lyon & Healy Arion Guitars of the 1890's. On the soundboard it says "Arion" and underneath "Ges Gesch" which I'm told is a shortening of "gesetzlich geschützt" which literally means "Legally protected" and was used like TM to show the name was a registered trademark. There was a German Accordion maker called Arion in the early 1900's and I would think it a product of this firm but I have no information on them.

Gebrüder Schuster

Distributor and possible manufacturer of Ukuleles and Banjoleles amongst other instruments from Markneukirchen. I know one brand name they used for instruments was Cid. (it was used on Banjos certainly and probably other instruments but I don't know if it was ever used on Ukuleles?) 

Herdim

The brand name the firm of Heinrich Hermann Dick from Markneukirchen. The company was probably founded in 1848 and was a mail order business for a range of fretted and fretless chordophones. In the 1930s the catalogue was expanded to include gramophones and recording machines. What happened to the company in WWII and the Cold War I don't know but today there is a company, (or maybe more than one), called Herdim who make nylon plectrums, Violin chin rests and hand tools particularly for luthiery; and I know the hand tools, at least, come from the same area?

click for more

Please contact me if you have any information or pictures that would improve the page

contact Web Administrator if you think your copyright has been infringed