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Friedrich Violin

Friedrich Violin

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Description (Brief)
This violin was made by John Friedrich in New York, New York in 1903. Friedrich was born in Kassel, Germany in 1858 and studied violin making from 1875-1883 in Kassel, Stuttgart, Leipzig. He later studied in Berlin with Otto Möckel, a well-known master and authority of his time. Friedrich immigrated to New York in 1883, establishing with his brother William the firm of John Friedrich & Bros. His work was highly regarded and he won the highest award for his exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and at the St. Louis World's Exposition in 1904. After a lifetime output of roughly 300 instruments, he died in 1943 at the age of 85. The violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce, one-piece back of maple with even medium-fine figure descending to the right, ribs of similar maple, complementary maple neck, pegbox and scroll, and orange-brown varnish shaded to imitate age and wear.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Friedrich, John
Place Made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 5/8 in x 8 1/4 in x 3 3/8 in; 60.0075 cm x 20.955 cm x 8.5725 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Laurence C. Witten II
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I have a bow with a John Friedrich and Bro stamp. NY, it is a well balanced bow, with a very clean and sweet sound, this bow was bought in a store in NY in the 90's but it has been with me here in Brazil for two years and is my main bow.
I had the distinct honor of performing on this instrument last night in the beautiful coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon. I happened to bump into the Owner/ Proprietor of Old City Hall Antiques Greg Nichols at a community event and with his passion for Art Deco and background with music, it very quickly became apparent that we had something in common. If you know me well, you know that my instrument is much like an extension of my body and is never far from Arms reach. Come to find out, Mr. Nichols had been given his late mothers instrument in rememberance after her passing. His mother, the Dorothy Campo, is one of the most momentous female fiddlers in American History. Having spent a majority of her life performing and adjudicating fiddle competitions, she immediately knew that the violin, which she found at an old second hand store, was something special. Naturally, the tone quality and resonance we unmatched and this became her primary instrument after much love and restoration. With a Hand made chin rest and a female fiddlers foundation, my performance on this beautiful instrument is not one I will soon forget. From inspirational women, outstanding in their field to gold prize award winning instruments, I feel blessed to have stumbled upon such an impactful story of true American History!
"I have one that I restored; it was my mothers and the number inside on the back cover is 4635 .... imported 1927 and was played in a recital around 1929 by my mother in Gillette, Pa."

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