Re: Civil War era harp question
- Subject: Re: Civil War era harp question
- From: wmharps@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 08:40:32 US/Central
>Listening to Joe Filisko's presentation in Vermillion, South Dakota he
>says Hohner didn't begin mass importation into the United States until
>the later part of the 19th century, coroborated by Martin Haffner the
>author of the book Made In Germany, Played in the U.S.A.
This seems to be borne out by the information I have, which is that although
Hohner began "manufacturing" in 1857 and importing into North America in 1862
(after the war had started --
http://www.hohnerusa.com/2000/harmonicas/hist/history.html), they were only
producing a few hundred harmonicas a year, and didn't tool up for mass
production until 1880, fifteen years after the war.
Still, although they virtually monopolize the German harmonica market today,
Hohner achieved that status by buying out the majority of their competitors,
which would have been numerous in the beginning. And while it's true that a
harmonica might not have been something that an average foot soldier could have
afforded in the 1860s, at that time soldiering was something in which people of
many economic strata participated, so it's conceivable that some soldiers might
have been carrying harmonicas.
>The one harmonica relic from the Civil War I've seen referenced isn't really a
>harmonica as we know it. I want to say it's an Aeolian harp but that may be
There are a number of places where you can see fragments of harmonicas claimed
to be Civil War era relics. Whether these are authentic is anyone's guess.
They do look very much like reed plates of modern harmonicas:
some for sale on ebay:
I have no association with any of these items, and make no claim to their
authenticity as Civil War relics. I think that some of my old Marine Bands
would look like this if I left them out in the yard for a few years.
This archive was generated by a fusion of
Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and