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Christian Frederick Martin (Markneukirchen, Saxony 1796–1873 Nazareth, Pennsylvania)

ca. 1838
New York, New York, United States
Wood, various materials
Total L.: 93.5 cm (36-7/8 in.); L. of fingerboard, nut to base: 43.4 cm (17-1/8 in.); W. of fingerboard at base: 2.8 cm (l.-1/8 in.); L. of body: 43.7 cm (17-1/4 in.); W. of body: upper bouts: 23 cm (9 in.), middle bouts: 17.6 cm (7 in.), lower bouts: 29.7 cm (11-3/4 in.); Max. D. of body: 8.3 cm (3-1/4 in.); vibrating L. of strings: 60.3 cm (23-3/4 in.); Diam. of soundhole: 7.7 cm (3 in.); L. of case: 96.2 cm (37-7/8 in.); D. of case: 11.6 cm (4-1/2 in.); W. of case (widest); 34.3 cm (13-1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.380 ab
  • Description

    Christian Frederick Martin worked for Johann Georg Stauffer (1778–1853) in Vienna, rising to foreman in the factory and ultimately leaving for New York in 1833, where he set up shop on Hudson Street. He was the founder of C. F. Martin & Co., the company that produced many forms of twentieth-century guitars, including the "Dreadnought." The instrument exhibited here closely resembles the Stauffer guitar (1979.390) in the Museum's collection. This guitar has a one-piece back and sides of bird's-eye maple; the top is spruce. Like the Stauffer guitar, the neck angle can be adjusted with a key mechanism.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: 1. (stamped on back near heel) C.F. Martin/New-York
    2. (Engraved label in body) C.F. Martin/manufacturer of [lyre] importer of / guitars & violins [lyre] musical instruments / wholesale & retail / No. 212 Fulton St. above Greenwich No. 196 Hudson Str [last addresss in ink MS] / Instruments of every description New York neatly repaired. Piano Fortes tuned & c./...Harris[on] Scl NY / No. 1188. [last number in ink MS]

  • References

    Our Tuneful Heritage: American Musical Instruments from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exhibition catalogue., Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah, 1994, pg. 61, fig. 16, ill.

    A Checklist of American Musical Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pg. 26.

    "Notable Acquisitions 1979-1980: Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1980), pg. 39, ill.

  • See also