Visit Acoustic Electric Strings
Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Other Fiddle-Related Topics
 Product Reviews and Shopping Advice
 William Lewis & Son Information and Value

 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print

Next Page

 

 

Page: of 4

bpeterson11

United States
2 posts
since 10/18/07

08/05/2010 08:25:41 Reply with Quote

Hi all, I am a banjer picker that just obtained my Mom's old violin from when she was growing up. She used the violin in the early 60's and is not sure but assumed her parents bought it used. The sticker on the inside reads:

Made Expressley for William Lewis & Son
Chicago, IL
in Mittenwald, Germany
No 125 1/2

I assume that the 1/2 is telling me that it is a 1/2 size violin? The body and neck are in good shape, it may need a new tuning peg, bridge, fine tuners, maybe a tail piece, and string change. I am thinking of maybe using this on a partial trade for a new setup for my wife, who also plays mandolin. I am just looking for a bit of general information about the maker, the violin and its possible value. Thanks so much for any and all information!!!

BP
bpeterson11@gmail.com

coelhoe

United States
2924 posts since 6/25/07

08/07/2010 12:15:25 View coelhoe's Classified Ads View coelhoe's Blog Reply with Quote

Some dating can be done from the fact that the place we now call Germany was known in the past by different terms.

The inclusive term "Germany" has been used since 1989. But before that, from 1946 until 1989 it was West Germany, or the German Democratic Republic (if it was made in the east).

The term "Germany" was adopted with unification in 1872, but seems to not turn up products until a few years later. Such things were generally banned during the anti-German propaganda developed by the US government in the run up to WW, especially after 1917. It returns after the war until somewhere between 1936 and 1939. This latter period probably is where your instrument is from. Probably also a 1/2 size, which is quite small, too small for an adult player.

Wm. Lewis was perhaps the major producer of instruments specifically for the school / student market before the 1970's when Scherl and Roth came to dominate.

Schools were never much interested in the 1/2 size since string programs started normally in the fourth grade when many kids were ready for full size, or at least 3/4. A 1/2 size would have been used by a youngster under age 8 or even 6.

Only shop that does work with Suzuki players or similar methods is going to be interested in such an instrument. Value is minimal (imo), and the work required is probably equal to the value of the fiddle.

Go to Top of Page

bpeterson11

United States
2 posts since 10/18/07

08/09/2010 10:40:53 Reply with Quote

Coelhoe, thank you very much for all of the information. Just what I was looking for.

BP

Go to Top of Page

nadiajoliet

United States
1 posts since 6/16/11

06/16/2011 07:15:10 Reply with Quote

I have a similar question however, I would like to know when my violin was made and possible other owners.

TONKLAR the DANCLA

Made in Germany

 Expressley for William Lewis & Son
Chicago, IL
No 126 4/4

 

Go to Top of Page

giannaviolins

United States
3143 posts since 6/24/07

06/16/2011 08:11:02 View giannaviolins's Classified Ads View giannaviolins's Photo Albums Send giannaviolins a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

standard pre-WWII student instrument, not quite the bottom.  I've had a number of them.

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

06/16/2011 17:09:00View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by nadiajoliet

I have a similar question however, I would like to know when my violin was made and possible other owners.

TONKLAR the DANCLA

Made in Germany

 Expressley for William Lewis & Son
Chicago, IL
No 126 4/4

 


​If you can post a photo of the label including the serial number, I may be able to give you a date range.

~ Gwen

Go to Top of Page

bj

United States
8700 posts since 4/13/08

06/17/2011 07:23:06View bj's MP3 Archive View bj's Photo Albums View bj's Blog Reply with Quote

If you measure the length of the body, without the neck button, then if it's full size (4/4) it should be roughly 14". Measuring the whole length including neck should be in the neighborhood of 23". You can find the measurements for the fractionals out on the web.

Go to Top of Page

joe147

2 posts since 8/3/11

08/03/2011 08:53:21 Reply with Quote

Hi there, I have a similar question that I would love help with.  I just purchased a used William Lewis and Son 4/4 violin for a friend.  It has a model number of 100 and a serial number of 4411.  Any information would be really useful.  I purchased it as a gift for an intermediate violinist, so comments on playability, origin or value would be very helpful.  I just want to make sure I am not giving them a terrible violin. 

 

Thanks!

joe


Edited by - joe147 on 08/03/2011 09:04:45

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

08/03/2011 19:28:55View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

The information I have indicates the "Lewis" model was sold between 1980 and 1996.  I have not personally seen a "Lewis" model with the 2nd generation labeling (this one has what I'd call 3rd generation); if this is not just a lack of experience on my part, the serial number woudl then suggest that it is from around 1980 (the early end of the range).

​FWIW, Wm. Lewis & Sons appears to have used a single serial number stream for ALL their imported new instruments, from the lowliest up through the most expensive from G. A. Ficker.  Each time the label was reformatted, the serial number stream starts over.  For the period that includes the Ton-Klar line (my own fiddle, hence my interest), there's one format from around 1958 thru about 1974, and a second format from about 1975 through ??? (likely 1979).

I'm much less knowledgeable about (and have no hands-on experience with) the later model line that includes the Lewis, but it looks like it was placed in the middle of their student model choices.  IME, the different "levels" of instrument are designated as such primarily based on aesthetics (visual aspects of the wood used and care when shading and varnishing) rather than any significant improvement in the instruments.  They all feel remarkably the same and play similarly.  The one top-end model I do have (from a much earlier year) IS in fact more responsive, suggesting the top-end instruments may also have somewhat better graduations, but the tone is basically the same as the bottom-end instruments according to multiple listeners.

​My experience with the older (Ton-Klar) models is that, if set up properly, this is a better-than-decent beginner instrument, often very acceptable for stepping up size-wise for young violinists (that aren't the prodigy type), a decent fiddle for many people (I have never "upgraded" from my first one), an acceptable violin longer-term for some (I played mine in the U of Oregon Symphony Orchestra, albeit as last chair second violin, and my teacher at the time rated the fiddle as "surprisingly good for a student instrument"), but not really appropriate for those who are in the process of moving up the steep ladder that is the world of classical violin playing.

​I'm not sure where the "Lewis" fits in although my limited experience is that the older Wm. Lewis & Sons product lines' quality slowly diminished from the inception throughout its history, so I would suspect the "Lewis" and similar era instruments to not be as good as the earlier ones ... but ...  I have not actually played any from that era, so do have someone who is qualified play and assess it rather than going on my suspicions.  And, the stage and goals of the intended recipient have  everything to do with suitability.

​eBay values are low regardless.

~ Gwen

 

Go to Top of Page

joe147

2 posts since 8/3/11

08/03/2011 19:57:16 Reply with Quote

Thank you so much Gwen!  

This is such incredibly helpful information.  You certainly have a wealth of knowledge on this stuff, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to explain all of this to me.  I will try and get someone at a local shop to play it and tell me what they think and will repost here when I find out some more info from the hands on assessment. 

with many thanks,

joe

Go to Top of Page

coelhoe

United States
2924 posts since 6/25/07

08/05/2011 06:02:48 View coelhoe's Classified Ads View coelhoe's Blog Reply with Quote

Keep in mind that the primary characteristic of violins made for student or school use is durability.

Go to Top of Page

TMM10910

United States
2 posts since 8/18/11

08/18/2011 15:05:19 View TMM10910's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I have a William Lewis & Son full size violin that my dad purchased from a garage sale about 20 years ago. The lady he purchased it from said that it used to be her mothers. I have been trying to information and a date on when this violin could have been made. Could anyone give me some information on this? Here is a photo of the label...

Thanks!



   
Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

08/21/2011 05:12:34View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

That's one of the pre-Ton-Klar student models, so before 1957-58.  I'm not sure how long they were "made" (ie, imported for Wm. Lewis), but I don't think it was for very long as their catalogs in the mid-40s (if I'm remembering this correctly) only listed individual instruments, no student models.

​Is there another label visible through the opposite (treble side) f-hole?

~ Gwen

Go to Top of Page

zombywoof

United States
9 posts since 8/14/11

08/24/2011 10:57:06 Reply with Quote

When I returned to playing fiddle after a decades long layoff the first instrument I snagged was a Lewis and Sons.  I pretty much do not know a good fiddle from a can of tuna but I liked the red brown varnish and it was dirt cheap.

Mine is a  Solo #1 model, made by  J. F. Straube, and dated 1914.  I have run across Orchestra models and even a Solo #3 and assume the one I got hold of is a down scale version of it.  I have come up with bupkiss about the maker.   Anyone out there who can enlighten me a bit?  I am just plain curious.  

Go to Top of Page

TMM10910

United States
2 posts since 8/18/11

08/24/2011 21:01:47 View TMM10910's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Thank you for that information. No there are no other labels in it.

Go to Top of Page

Servais

2 posts since 9/10/11

09/10/2011 02:32:24 Reply with Quote

Hi I found an old violin at a yard sale and just got it fixed... On the inside written in pencil is "William A Lewis maker April 1885 No 8"Is this the same william lewis?

Go to Top of Page

Servais

2 posts since 9/10/11

09/10/2011 02:33:56 Reply with Quote

Hi I found an old violin at a yard sale and just got it fixed... On the inside written in pencil is "William A Lewis maker April 1885 No 8"Is this the same william lewis?

Go to Top of Page

coelhoe

United States
2924 posts since 6/25/07

09/10/2011 20:27:04 View coelhoe's Classified Ads View coelhoe's Blog Reply with Quote

Probably not. The company,William Lewis and Sons, started in 1874 and employed a great number of known (at the time) European craftsmen.

Go to Top of Page

Jinx13ac

1 posts since 9/15/11

09/15/2011 22:53:43 Reply with Quote

Hi, I was hoping to find some information a a violin that I just bought. The inside label says:

Ton-Klar
The Dancla
Made in Germany expressly for
William Lewis and Son
Chicago, Illinois

No. 126

1643

There is also a circular design on the label that seems to have "WM" connected then a large "L" followed by "and...." after the "and" I can't make out the two letters, but they seem to be either "NW" or "MW."

Thank you in advance for any information. :-)

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

09/16/2011 01:42:07View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Servais

Hi I found an old violin at a yard sale and just got it fixed... On the inside written in pencil is "William A Lewis maker April 1885 No 8"Is this the same william lewis?

​I agree with coelhoe — probably not.  The William Lewis that started the business was a violinist and teacher, but no sources I can access mention luthierie.

~ Gwen

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

09/16/2011 01:46:47View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Jinx13ac

Hi, I was hoping to find some information a a violin that I just bought. The inside label says:

Ton-Klar
The Dancla
Made in Germany expressly for
William Lewis and Son
Chicago, Illinois

No. 126

1643

There is also a circular design on the label that seems to have "WM" connected then a large "L" followed by "and...." after the "and" I can't make out the two letters, but they seem to be either "NW" or "MW."

Thank you in advance for any information. :-)

​You are describing the "second generation" Ton-Klar label (serial number is included on the maker/model label).  Based on the serial number, it's probably from around 1975.

~ Gwen

Go to Top of Page

TheShadowBane

1 posts since 9/28/11

09/28/2011 14:01:28 Reply with Quote

I have stickers quite similar to all the persons above except mine says "the herrmann" as oposed to "the dancla". Also, there is another label visible from the other f-hole. The sticker in the other f-hole reads "74826" and the larger label reads "Ton-Klar the Herrmann made in GERMANY expressly for William Lewis and Son Chicago, Illinois *big slash sign thing**lewis and son emblem* no. 165. I've been searching for a while and have been unable to find an aproximate date. It was given to me by my grandmother a good 6 years ago when I began playing, and she tells me her parents bought it used when she had it as a child. Help?

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

09/28/2011 17:12:58View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Projecting from serial numbers on known-dated G. Ficker models (same serial number stream), your fiddle was made around 1966.

The Ton-Klar violin line at that time (Wm. Lewis juggled them later on) had, from highest quality to lowest, The David, The Hermann, The Kayser, and The Dancla.  My (limited!) experience with the different levels is that the "higher level" instruments have backs and ribs with more obvious, aesthetic flaming, more conventionally-acceptable varnish (ie, NOT the flawlessly-shiny mirror-like type of most Danclas)  and that they are louder and more responsive to play but are still in the "factory student model" category (incomplete graduations, albeit less so, and thicker ribs).

~ Gwen

Go to Top of Page

jackiethielen

United States
1 posts since 10/10/11

10/10/2011 12:04:43 Reply with Quote

Gwen, I have a WM Lewis & Son 4/4 violin made in 1997. The Model Number is WL8OED or WL80ED. Serial Number C2783. How do I get an accurate value for this violin? Jackie

Go to Top of Page

fishingcatPlayers Union Member

132 posts since 6/22/10

10/10/2011 15:16:29View fishingcat's MP3 Archive View fishingcat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by jackiethielen

Gwen, I have a WM Lewis & Son 4/4 violin made in 1997. The Model Number is WL8OED or WL80ED. Serial Number C2783. How do I get an accurate value for this violin? Jackie


That would be the "Orchestra" model which appears to be the second lowest grade in their student model line for the time period.

Depends on what you consider "accurate" value and your purpose.  You can look on eBay for similar instruments in similar condition that actually sold.  You can take the instrument to several luthiers or appraisers.  If you're planning to sell it, I'd recommend to just go the eBay "comparable sales" route because the Orchestra model is not particularly desirable and the value won't be particularly high no matter what venue you sell through.  If you're wanting to keep the fiddle and you like it, then the value to other people is immaterial.  For insurance purposes, you need to get a hands-on valuation by an appraiser.

~ Gwen


Edited by - fishingcat on 10/10/2011 15:17:17

Go to Top of Page

mephillips

2 posts since 10/22/11

10/22/2011 07:02:30 Reply with Quote

Hi there! I am new to the violin world and a family member has loaned me an old violin. It will need repair in order to play but I was wondering what the value of this model would be. The label says "Lewis Solo Violin No. 1 B expressly made as a Copy of The "Betts" Stradivari by Franz Weidler, in Schilbach anno 1911 for William Lewis & Son, Chicago" The strings are missing and the bottom piece that hold the strings (sorry not familiar with the name) is just hanging now. The body of the violin looks pretty good for 100 years old and it also has a bow and case both of which are fairly beat up. Thanks for any help you may give me.

 

Go to Top of Page

 

 

Page: of 4
Next Page

 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print

Jump To:

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!




You are not logged in.
Log In


Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)



453 FIDDLE LOVERS ONLINE

HOME | FORUMS | MEMBERS | MEDIA ARCHIVE | TABS & LESSONS | CLASSIFIEDS | REVIEWS | LINKS | CALENDAR | STORE | TERMS OF USE