Violoncello by Kurt Lothar Meisel, Owatonna, Minnesota, 1977-1978
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NMM 5879. Violoncello by Kurt Lothar Meisel (b. 1929), Owatonna, Minnesota, 1977-1978. Guarneri model. Serial no. 1. This instrument, the only cello ever made by Lothar Meisel, won a Certificate of Merit for Cello Workmanship from the Violin Society of America, La Jolla, California, 1978. Gift of Kurt Lothar and Patricia A. Meisel, Owatonna, 1995.
Lothar Meisel's Quartet
NMM 5879 is the cello in a quartet of instruments at the NMM made by Lothar Meisel (see also NMM 5876, 5877, and 5878).
- Printed in brown ink on paper label with lined texture and wavy-line border, the location, last two digits of year, and serial number written in black ink, signed "Lothar Meisel" in blue ballpoint pen over label text: [bird on branch] K. Lothar Meisel [KLM monogram over lyre] / Violinmaker and Repairer / from Klingenthal, Germany / OWATONNA 1978 No: 1 / MINNESOTA / MEISEL 1977-78. The bird on the label represents the family branch, known as the "Bird" Meisels.
- Written in pencil on inside of back, upper bass bout: Lothar Meisel [signature] / #1 1978 / (1977-78) / [illegible] MEISEL QUARTETT
- Written in pencil on side of bassbar, upper bout, treble side: [illegible] 1 – 1978 # 1 [illegible] 45 [illegible]
- Branded on inside of back, visible through treble f-hole: K.L.MEISEL OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on inside of back in front of top block, to treble side of center joint: K.L.MEISEL OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on inside of back in front of bottom block, to bass side of center joint: K.L.MEISEL OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on inside of top in front of top block, to treble side of center joint: K.L.MEISEL
- Branded on inside of top in front of top block, to bass side of center joint: OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on inside of top in front of bottom block, to bass side of center joint: K.L.MEISEL
- Branded on inside of top in front of bottom block, to treble side of center joint: OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on inside of top between center joint and bassbar: K.L.MEISEL
- Branded in inside of top between center joint and treble f-hole: OWATONNA/MINN.
- Branded on base of neck heel, under fingerboard: [large typeface] K.L.MEISEL
- Branded on bridge, toward fingerboard: [large typeface] K.L.MEISEL
- Stamped on lower rib above endpin: Q
Top: two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: medium grain broadening to wide at the flanks.
Back: two-piece, quarter-cut maple: medium curl descending from center joint; maple dowel through back into top block; two maple dowels through back into bottom block, one on each side of center joint, spaced 27 mm apart.
Ribs: quarter-cut maple: prominent, irregular broad curl angled to right on bass side, angled to left on treble side; lower ribs divided by wide pernambuco strip; rib corners chamfered.
Head and Neck: maple: prominent, broad curl; pegbox with shoulders; inside of pegbox stained black.
Edging: full, rounded edges.
Purfling: maple and pearwood.
Varnish: medium orange; wood texture visible through varnish, resulting in a matte effect.
Fingerboard: ebony; subtly raised area along center, lower end; made by Josef Klier, Bubenreuth, originally from Schönbach.
Tailpiece: black plastic with four built in black-painted steel fine tuners.
Tailgut: steel wire.
Pegs: four rosewood with ivory pins; undercut heads; made by Emil Lorenz, Bubenreuth, originally from Schönbach
Endpin: black plastic and nickel-plated steel; extendable.
F-holes: steeply pointed wings; lower wings channeled; inside edges stained black.
Corner blocks: spruce.
Top block: spruce.
Bottom block: basswood.
Other: spruce cleats along inside of top center joint in upper and lower bouts; maple cleats along inside of back center joint in upper and lower bouts; inside of body stained light brown.
Pegbox and Scroll
Back length: 766 mm
Upper bout width: 357 mm
Center bout width: 247 mm
Lower bout width: 450 mm
Upper rib height: 115-119 mm
Center rib height: 118-119 mm
Lower rib height: 119-120 mm
Total violin length: 1235 mm
Stop length: 407 mm
Vibrating string length: 696 mm
Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs): 293 mm
Lit.: André P. Larson, "A Salute to the Instrument Makers of the Vogtland, Including Nine Generations of the Meisel Family," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 23, No. 1 (October 1995) p. 6.
K. Lothar Meisel with Betty Vos, The Meisel Family Violin Makers: Klingenthal, Vogtland, Saxony (Ely, Minnesota: Singing River Publications, Inc., 2007), pp. 254-255.
The NMM preserves violins from each of eight generations of the
Go to the NAMM Oral History Interview Project to see a short video interview with Kurt Lothar Meisel (June 28, 2006)
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