Rudolph Wurlitzer 1920s Cremona Model 4/4 Violin
The now defunct Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, famous for organs, was founded in Cincinnati in 1853 and was owned by the descendent of a German violin making family. In 1941, when Wurlitzer's sons were running the company, they moved it to Chicago. A few years later, Rudolph Wurlitzer's grandson, Rembert Rudolph Wurlitzer, founded a separately managed company that bought, sold, authenticated and/or restored violin family instruments.
Founded in 1949, in just a decade or so, the violin business had built such a strong reputation that it had handled over 300 of the 600 known Stradivari instruments and amassed a collection of old master violin family instruments and bows. Wurlitzer was recognized as THE source for rare instruments. Many highly regarded concert instrumentalists acquired their instruments and bows through the shop. Many of the world's most highly regarded builders and restorers received training in the Wurlitzer shop.
Wurlitzer also traded in more pedestrian, yet good quality violin family instruments. Among these instruments are violins often built under contracts with violinmakers in Mittenwald and Marchneukirchen in the 1920s. Many of these instruments bear labels with the script signature 'Rudolph Wurlitzer' under which the model name 'Cremona' is printed and below that appear the printed city names, Cincinnati, Chicago and New York. Often, the Wurlitzer Cremona labels were applied on top of labels that simply read, "made in Germany." Sometimes the label under the Wurlitzer label identified a specific builder. Sometimes no label is under the Wurlitzer label.
This violin has attributes like other 1920 Wurlitzer imports from Germany:
- even, tight grained spruce in the top,
- relatively wide flame in the maple of the back, sides and neck,
- a refined scroll,
- delicate beestings and
- rich brown varnish.
- The rectangular label has a deliberately roughened and darkened edge with the characteristic script signature with the Cremona model and city names printed below. The right side of the label has a bump in it that could be caused by a maker's label under the Wurlitzer label.
This instrument has no repairs and almost no wear - remarkable condition for an instrument that is more than 90 years old.