Who Made Swan-shaped Dulcimer?

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
8 months ago
104 posts

I have no idea who might have made your dulcimer, but the signature looks like it could either be "N. Mills" or "Neville".  Are there any dulcimer makers who fit either of those interpretations of the signature?   None come to mind. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
8 months ago
1,720 posts

Lois Sprengnether Keel:

 I look at it and it doesn't look as refined as those chairs, but it's an idea.  His finish is definitely more "rustic", especially on the back.

Like I said, swan head armchairs and rocking chairs were made long ago in the Victorian era mostly, but then there were also reproductions of them made later on like in the 1930s-70s.  The repros tend to be more simplified (less refined and less complex carving) as the original era antiques. Your dulcimer's headstock fits that style.  The later repros are now of course vintage 'antiques' themselves.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
8 months ago
160 posts

@robin-thompson"> @robin-thompson  said:

Lois, there is an element or two of this instrument which I've seen before-- the swan head being the more notable element.  I can't recall, though, when I saw some similar photos.  I'm hoping somebody knows who the maker was!

Hi Robin, you've been close enough to areas where the maker may have been.  Even if it proves to be recycled furniture as Strumelia suggests, it might lead to more information.

 

Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
8 months ago
160 posts

Hmmm.  Wonder who is knowledgeable about wood?  We recently lost our local Native American flute maker, Don Hayes.  He really knew his woods.  I'll ask his widow if their son, who took the woodshop tools & wood, could tell me.  I look at it and it doesn't look as refined as those chairs, but it's an idea.  His finish is definitely more "rustic", especially on the back. 

Showed it just now to my husband and he dared to want to improve that finish!  NO!

That woodburned signature looks to me like it ends in "...ville."

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
8 months ago
1,720 posts

When i saw the pictures of this dulcimer, I immediately thought that the maker used the carved swan head arm from an antique chair for the head stock.  Such carved swan head chair arms were fairly popular both long ago and again in later reproductions of Victorian furniture. I suspect the swan head was recycled from an old discarded chair, the rest of the dulcimer having been built at a later time than when the chair was made.  In my eyes, the smooth stylized mahogany swan head doesn't really seem to match the whole rest of the instrument which is decidedly more rustic. Look at some of these vintage and antique chairs for typical carved swan head arms. One like this one could have easily been cut and adapted as a head stock.  I also think the 'wing' decorative element might have come from recycled furniture, and the fretbord may have been a mahogany piece from furniture as well.  I think whoever made the dulcimer was into using old furniture wood for thier projects.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson
@robin-thompson
8 months ago
1,025 posts

Lois, there is an element or two of this instrument which I've seen before-- the swan head being the more notable element.  I can't recall, though, when I saw some similar photos.  I'm hoping somebody knows who the maker was! 




--
Robin T
one of the Moderators here :)
Keep a song in your heart!
Lois Sprengnether Keel
Lois Sprengnether Keel
@lois-sprengnether-keel
8 months ago
160 posts

I posted these 6 photos on my page of an unusual dulcimer possibly made by a builder in Indiana.  It was suggested I also post them here.  The builder's logo/signature are woodburned into it and should help.


updated by @lois-sprengnether-keel: 10/27/19 12:02:25PM