Music & Musical Instruments
The Museum's music collections contain more than 5,000 instruments of American and European heritage. These include a quartet of 18th-century Stradivari stringed instruments, Tito Puente's autographed timbales, and the Yellow Cloud guitar that belonged to Prince, to name only a few. Several of these rare instruments can be heard in performances of the Smithsonian Chamber Players and in other public programs. Music collections also include jukeboxes and synthesizers, square-dancing outfits and sheet music, archival materials, oral histories, and recordings of performances at the Museum. The vast Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated Sheet Music is a remarkable window into the American past in words, music, and visual imagery. The Duke Ellington and Ruth Ellington Boatwright collections contain handwritten music compositions, sound recordings, business records, and other materials documenting the career of this renowned musician.
"Music & Musical Instruments - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Description (Brief)
- This violin was made by the Aluminum Musical Instrument Company, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1932. In the last decade of the 19th century Neil Merrill, president of the Aluminum Musical Instrument Co. in New York City, began incorporating aluminum in the manufacture of mandolins, fiddles, banjos, guitars and zithers. Fitted with spruce soundboards, the bodies of these instruments were pressed from one piece of aluminum.
- Unrelated to Merrill's efforts, on March 24, 1932 the Buffalo plant of ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) joined with Dr. Joseph Maddy, a music teacher from Ann Arbor and director of the National High School Orchestra Camp at Interlochen. They redesigned a 1928 aluminum double bass model in order to market aluminum violins, with bow and case for $50.00. The Buffalo plant assembled and finished the violins to resemble wood and Dr. Maddy provided the set-up work and sales from Ann Arbor. ALCOA records indicate the Buffalo Fabricating Plant provided a total of 435 violins to Dr. Maddy and about 500 double bass instruments to other dealers.
- This 1932 model is molded with half-height ribs and back pressed from a single piece of aluminum joined at the center height of the ribs to a similarly molded aluminum table with half-height ribs. It is fitted with an aluminum neck with wood core, and an aluminum pegbox, scroll, bassbar and endpin. The exterior aluminum surfaces are painted to imitate wood grain.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Aluminum Company of America
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- serial number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center