Okay, here's a little lazy armchair research for you. There's a Wikipedia article that you can give a read, if you haven't found it already. And I also found a discussion thread on this forum that seems to cover some of these topics, but I did not read it thoroughly. It looks like the company acquired musical instruments for many makers. Is there a reason you need to know the age, other than general curiosity / bragging rights, etc? I would think the tone of the instrument & overall satisfaction would be top of the list, though I understand that it is fun to know everything you can about the little noise box on your arm.