Stroh One-String Jap Fiddle

Description (Brief)
This Stroh One-String Jap Fiddle patented by John M. A. Stroh, British Patent #9418, 1899 and manufactured by George Evans & Co. in London, England 1904-1942. John Mathias Augustus Stroh and an associate, Charles Wheatstone produced numerous innovations in telegraphy and the study of acoustics. They collaborated with Stroh’s son, Charles Stroh and George Evans, both violin makers, in the development of “Stroh” instruments. The patent application refers to the attachment of an aluminum diaphram and horn to amplify the sound of a vibrating string. The concept was adapted for use on modified violins, violas, cellos, mandolins, and guitars.
This instrument is often known as the Japanese fiddle or One-String Jap fiddle. The name likely originated from the Japanese exhibition held in London at the end of the 19th century. It was produced in three models: “Home,” “Concert” and “Professional,” priced at 35s, £3 and £12 respectively. George Chirgwin popularized the Jap Fiddle on the British music hall stage. The body, neck, “pegbox” and “scroll” outline of this instrument are fashioned from a single narrow piece of mahogany with a dark red-brown varnish. There are aluminum knee grips and a single gear tuning mechanism.
Currently not on view
Object Name
jap fiddle
Date made
Stroh, John M. A.
Physical Description
mahogany (overall material)
aluminum (knee grips material)
overall: 35 in x 13 3/4 in x 7 3/8 in; 88.9 cm x 34.925 cm x 18.7325 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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