These fantastic instruments are often believed to have been the source of John Dopyera's resonator concept. They were invented by John Matthias Augustus Stroh, and were at their most popular in the early 1900's. They are the subject of two British Patents, No.9418 dated 1899 & No.3393 dated 1901.
Stroh was a watchmaker who settled in Britain in 1851, and who worked with the British inventor Charles Wheatstone in the mid to late 19th century. There is more information on their work, especially concerning their collaboration on the Wheatstone Concertena to be found at: http://www.hobgoblin.com/info/infofiles/wayne.php , and their 'automatic telegraph' work HERE. Stroh was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1828 and died in London, Great Britain in 1914.
Instruments bearing the Stroviols name were made by his son Charles from about 1901 to 1924, and then under licence in Britain by George Evans & Co, up till about 1942. The violins alone are now being manufactured by Strohviolin.
Another source of information is about half way down the 'Krionics play Stroh' page, and a Stroh Violin can be seen and heard in the movie Bloodhounds of Broadway
Pictures ©Brian Cohen.
Although 4 string violins seen to have been the most common of all the instruments, we have heard of single string violins (aparently refered to a 'Jap fiddles'. Some just have the large horn to project the sound out towards the listeners, others (the 'Concert model') also have a second, smaller horn to feed sound to the player's ear. .
If you have any pictures we would be pleased to add them to these pages.
From the collection of Tony Bingham, this Stroh violin, is signed with a transfer on the body, "STROHVIOLS / TRADE MARK / REGISTERED" made in England c.1910. Height 61.0cm. The body of lacquered wood, the diaphram and horns of aluminium.
"Fiddles with Horns" by Joseph Pilling, from The Galpin Society Journal Volume XXVIII, 1975.
British Patents No.9418 dated 1899 & No.3393 dated 1901. Both taken out by J.M.A.Stroh
Catalogue of John E Dallas & Sons Ltd, London 1922, p.52. illustrating a similar Strohviol.
Thanks to Tony for the pictures and information.
I regret I don't know the source of these pictures, so if you do know please tell me!
Picture © Frank Ford. www.frets.com
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