New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.
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JT Agnello
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:37 pm

New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by JT Agnello »

This is my grandfather's violin, handed down. Pics attached, and per the rubbing on the back of the violin case, it's a 1902 "New Century M&W Co." (or thereabouts) violin. No other maker's mark on the violin itself. I've attached a series of pics, and there's both some oddities to ask about, and repairs that I can spot.

The oddities are:

1. floating bridge assembly, with a wooden piece (also standing loose) in front of the bridge. Normal for the time?

The repairs I see:

2. crack in the top, from base (below bridge) to start of soundhole.
3. tuning pins on right side of top view don't hold; set a tune, and then they spin back a bit.

Can you spot other oddities/repairs-needed that are present? Can the wood be identified?

Can't seem to pull up company info, but still looking. I seem to see very similar ones on EBAY, so this may be a common variety for the time period?

Hit the limit on files/sizes, so a 2nd posting will have the remaining pics.

Thanks for your time!
Attachments
NewCentury - 05 - side view - floating bridge - tied to pin at end.png
NewCentury - 04 - end view - crack in top.png
NewCentury - 03 - side view - arched top and bottom.png
NewCentury - 02 - tuning pins - two do not stay tight.png
NewCentury - 01 - arched top violin.png

JT Agnello
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:37 pm

Re: New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by JT Agnello »

Update: In some further research, apparently the case stamp of "New Century" on the center line of the trace rubbing is a model or brand name, and "M&W Co." at the bottom represents:

Maulbetsch & Whittemore - Manufacturers of Cases and Satchels for Musical Instruments, Brass, String and Reed, Web and Leather Drum Slings and Belts, Canvas Cases for Guitar, Banjo and Mandoline, Sample Cases and Leather Novelties, 108 to 114 N. J. Railroad Avenue, Corner Green Street, Newark, N. J.

As I can find no other maker's mark on the violin, don't know if "New Century" is a violin model, or a leather case model.

JT Agnello
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:37 pm

Re: New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by JT Agnello »

Add'l pics ...
Attachments
NewCentury - 10 - rubbing of name - circa 1902.png
NewCentury - 09 - floating bridge piece.png
NewCentury - 08 - neck.png
NewCentury - 07 - bottom.png
NewCentury - 06 - soundhole - peg from top to bottom.png

Joshua Levin-Epstein
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:58 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by Joshua Levin-Epstein »

I don't think anyone here would attempt to give a comprehensive list of repairs without having the instrument in hand.

My guess is there is no maker's label or other identifiers in the violin. These instruments were imported in great quantities and sold under the importer's brand. Probably of German origin. I agree that the rubbing only refers to the case.

I'm sure it needs a bunch of stuff done. That top crack looks like a top-off repair to me, not inexpensive. The tuners are probably not original to the instrument. There is usually a leather washer inside that provides friction. I would be tempted to install new ebony pegs. Once again, not an inexpensive job. There should be a dowel (soundpost) placed between the top and back. It probably became dislodged over the past hundred years.

The prudent approach is to find a reputable violin shop nearby and let them give you an estimate to repair as well as an appraisal of value. Don't be surprised if the shop charges something for this.

Armed with this knowledge, you can decide how much work, if any, you want to invest in your heirloom.

JT Agnello
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:37 pm

Re: New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by JT Agnello »

Thanks for the reply!

Not worried about the value (it's sentimental, and trying to turn it into family heirloom), nor repair costs. It still has a good sound. Unfortunately, no nearby luthiers in my neck of the woods, southern colorado, so a road trip might be in order.

The top crack is glued in some fashion, but couldn't tell if a homemade repair ... perfling has some nicks & such.

No makers marks that I can find, but maybe a cam inside the body can see something. I have no idea how to date it, but as it was in grandfather's possession, that makes it between 1900 & 1950's, or thereabouts. The "alligator" case seems to be next, after the coffin case type, so it also fits the early 1900's, as best I can determine.

A luthier is next ... thanks again!

Chris Reed
Posts: 168
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:26 pm

Re: New Century violin - circa 1902 - pick out the repairs needed?

Post by Chris Reed »

Just to let you know:

1. Your bridge is the separate, free standing part. The long black piece of wood which holds the strings is the tailpiece. Both look quite normal.

2. Your tuners adjust via the screws through the buttons into the tuner body. To tighten the friction, tighten the screw. But once any looseness is taken up, 1/8 turn at a time. Over time the button shrinks and the screw is too long - don't keep tightening or you'll strip the threads. The cure is to shorten the screw 1 or 2 mm.

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