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NMM 3441.  Guitar by C. F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, ca. 1890.
Model 1-21.   Ex coll.:  John Finn.  Witten-Rawlins Collection, 1984.

NMM 3441. Guitar by C. F. Martin and Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, ca. 1890. NMM 3441. Guitar by C. F. Martin and Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, ca. 1890. NMM 3441. Guitar by C. F. Martin and Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, ca. 1890.

Though small by todayís standards, the Martin Model 1-21 was a medium-sized guitar for the 19th century. Designed for home use, guitars such as NMM 3441 were not required to have the volume and projection that characterized later Martin guitars used for public performance. This instrument bears the 1894 repair label of Arthur A. Dorn, who is listed as a carpenter in the 1890 Springfield, Massachusetts, directory. Dorn was born in New York about 1855, and grew up working on the family farm in Beekman, Dutchess County. NMM 3441 also bears the repair inscription of John Finn, from whose wife Laurence Witten bought the guitar in 1968.

Inscriptions:  Branded on back graft: [lettering curved downward at each end] C.F.MARTIN & Co [sic] / — ∙ — / NEW_YORK [sic]
Branded on back of head: [lettering curved downward at each end] C.F.MARTIN [sic] / NEW-YORK
Printed on paper label affixed to neck block, the date written in black ink: REPAIRED BY / A. A. DORN, / SPRINGFIELD, / March 13-1894MASS. [sic]
Written in pencil on back graft: FINN / 2/28/23

Front of guitar Back of guitar

Body:  Soundboard: two-piece spruce, medium grain broadening toward the flanks. Back: two-piece book-matched Brazilian rosewood. Ribs: two-piece Brazilian rosewood. Head: slotted, mahogany peghead veneered with rosewood. Neck: mahogany with ridge along center of back; flared heel.

Soundhole

Inlay:  Binding: rosewood with four strips of alternating light and dark hardwood purfling strips, the two outer strips wider than the two inner strips. Rosette: alternating strips of light and dark hardwood forming herringbone pattern, with very narrow light hardwood purfling strip through center, the herringbone, surrounded on each side by two rings comprised of two strips of light hardwood and one of dark hardwood (3 strips each), with natural wood in between. Back stripe: alternating strips of light and dark hardwood forming herringbone pattern, with very narrow light hardwood purfling strip through center, the herringbone surrounded on each side with two strips of light hardwood and one strip of dark hardwood purfling. End graft: ebony strip (slightly wider toward top than bottom) surrounded by light and dark hardwood purfling (2 strips) on each side.

Trim:  Heel cap: ebony. Fingerboard: ebony, possibly later; 18 nickel-silver frets; single abalone dots behind 5th, 7th, and 10th frets. Nut: ivory. Bridge: ebony, later, with chamfered, raised squares at each end; bone saddle; ebony bridge pins with abalone eyes. Pegs: two sets of steel and brass worm-gear machine heads with brass rollers, ivory heads, the plates stamped with sprigs of oak with acorns, geometric borders, with two bullís-eyes at each end. Endpin: ebony with abalone eye. Varnish: clear.

Bass side of peghead
Back of peghead

Neck/heel juncture End graft

Neck heel juncture and end graft

Interior:  Linings: kerfed mahogany. Neck block: mahogany; chamfered corners. End block: mahogany; chamfered corners; maple graft at center, perpendicular to top and back. Top bracing: spruce X-brace, the joint of main cross brace reinforced with gray canvas; maple bridge plate. Back braces: spruce back graft; four spruce back braces, the two braces in the lower bouts with rounded edges, and wider and lower in height than the two braces in the upper bout. Back graft: spruce.

Measurements:  Total guitar length:  954 mm (37-9/16″)
Back length:  479 mm (18-7/8″)
Upper bout width:  236 mm (9-5/16″)
Waist width:  189 mm (7-7/16″)
Lower bout width:  322 mm (12-11/16″)
Rib height (including edging) at heel:  87 mm (3-7/16″)
Rib height, at waist:  93 mm (3-21/32″)
Rib height, at end block:  104 mm (4-3/32″)
Head length:  163 mm (6-7/16″)
Head width, top:  71 mm (2-13/16″)
Head width, bottom:  50 mm (1-31/32″)
Neck length (nut to ribs):  317 mm (12-1/2″)
Neck width, nut:  47 mm (1-27/32″)
Neck width, heel:  58 mm (2-9/32″)
Soundhole diameter:  91 mm (3-9/16″)
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge):  high E:  632 mm (24-7/8″); low E:  631 mm (24-13/16″)

Literature:  Joseph R. Johnson, Mandolin Clubs and Orchestras in the United States (1880-1920): Their Origin, History and Instruments, M.M. Thesis (Vermillion: University of South Dakota, 1987), pp. 60-61, 135.

Joseph R. Johnson, "The Mandolin Orchestra in America, Part 3: Other Instruments," American Lutherie, No. 21 (Spring 1990), pp. 48-49.

Joseph R. Johnson, "The Mandolin Orchestra in America," The Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume Two, 1988-1990 (Tacoma, Washington: Guild of American Luthiers, 2000), pp. 273-274.

André P. Larson, "NMM Exhibition features Our Martin Guitars to Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the C. F. Martin Company," National Music Museum Newsletter, 35, No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 4-5 and 7.

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