Early Central European Manufacturers click for more
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"
My Hess with Juka
Hess 1939 catalogue
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...
Ernst Hess Nachf.
Instrument manufacturer founded in the 19th century in Klingenthal. after the death of Ernst Hess the Nachf. (meaning descendants) was added to the company name but the instruments were often just branded Hess. They also made an early Autoplay Device they called the Juka
Instruments manufacturer and distributor from Breitenfeld, founded during the 1920s by Kurt Gropp. Ukuleles and Banjoleles were in the catalogue. After WWII he introduced the Perlgold brand but still used the Vogtlandsperle name for some products
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