branding-irons to indicate makers' names/models

Edited: November 19, 2021, 8:49 AM · I wonder if anyone knows when makers' names/violin models were first branded onto the buttons of violins using branding irons?
This kind of thing

Replies (7)

November 19, 2021, 3:35 PM · Doesn't that wreck the violin's tone?
Edited: November 19, 2021, 3:50 PM · Probably since the beginning of the craft. Brands are ancient technology. I even have one!

I guess it must not have been common, though, because there aren't that many old examples around today to my knowledge. I believe brands on or near the button became a hallmark of Eastern European factory instruments.

November 19, 2021, 5:23 PM · certainly back to 1800
November 19, 2021, 5:31 PM · Seraphin, Gragnani, so quite early.
November 19, 2021, 9:44 PM · I had a Carlo Giuseppe Oddone ( 1898) with a brand on the endpin hole.That violin got away from me; couldn't scrape up the cash fast enough.
Edited: November 20, 2021, 1:50 AM · In the second half of the 18th century several British/Irish workshops were using brands applied below rather than on the button, e.g. Betts, Duke, Perry. However, most violins branded "Duke London" are actually German or French.
Edited: November 20, 2021, 5:44 AM · I was trying to verify that a (probable) Poirson was 19th century, not 18th. But I think the fact that it's clearly a Breton model (painted purfling to boot, so no need to get excited. Otoh, the Mirecourt catalogues' Bretons all tend to be purfled) rules out the 18th century. I have no other knowledge of violins to go on, in case anyone is dumbstruck that I could be having difficulties with such a simple issue, lol. Otoh, Poirson seems to have been a tricky little shyster.

I'm glad Steve mentioned Betts - my teacher's viola is a John Betts. Next time I see her, I'll take a close look at it.

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