JTL vs Yamaha
JTL seem to have made 150,000 instruments a year, employing 1,000 "luthiers" (various sources, most quoting each other). But I'm not sure where to find the horse's mouth. And even if I could locate it, it raises more interesting questions about musical instrument output and consumption in, say, 1900.
Does that mean 150,000 string instruments a year or 150,000 INSTRUMENTS? They made tubas, flutes, pretty much everything Yamaha make except for the electronic stuff.
How many instruments do Yamaha make and sell each year?
If JTL alone made 150,000 instruments a year, what did all the world's producers make per year?
If JTL made 150,000 string instruments a year, what was their total instrument output, and what was the world's total consumption of musical instruments?
How long does it take a luthier to make a violin?
150,000 a year by 1,000 luthiers would represent 3 instruments per week. Is that feasible?
The brochure says around 1000 "workers" -- not specifically luthiers. The word in the catalog is "ouvriers" which means worker.
Yes, I have to confess that, apart from looking up Bretons by all makers (http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/documentation.htm), I haven't read the JTL catalogues (under Thibouville) in detail yet. There's a hell of a lot of stuff to read!
That 1911 catalogue on the penultimate page cites 150,000 instruments made by 450 employees (from memory)! Those brass instruments must have been made on tube bending machines or something! Or maybe they sold a shedload of penny whistles!
Gordon, I have just inherited a Breton Brevete! It has probably not been played since 1939. Right not it is getting a new soundpost, bridge etc.
For some reason, the workshops don't put their names on the labels. Supposedly the JTL workshops put two stars on something or other, and mine doesn't have any, and the scroll is very slightly different, so I don't think mine is JTL.
At their peak in the early 1900's I think there may have been half a dozen workshops in Mirecourt, all turning out similar products. I see the Laberte-Humbert catalogue of 1912 has 20-odd pages of violins with numerous options (wood, purfling, varnish, model including Breton Breveté etc) on every page, and at price points "to suit every pocket" from 12 to 250 francs. The "Grand prix" models went from 375 to 1250 francs but still not attributed to individual makers. Very roughly, that seems to be equivalent to about £50 to £5000 in today's money. I wouldn't have much idea how to discriminate between them.
Gordon, Thanks for the additional info and websites.
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