Early Central European Manufacturers click for more

Wunderlich 1926
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Fritz Strobel Ukulele from 1900's Catalogue
Fritz Strobel
From very early on the the Ukuleles history there have been a number of instruments coming out of Germany (or Shoenbach, Southern Bohemia, a German speaking region of Czechoslovakia) These may have originally been designed as Cavaquinhos (but there was never a big market for them?) or something else? but they were being marked before WWI as "Hawaiian Mandolins"
The problem with early central European instruments is, as well as a lack of information about the firms who made them, the instruments themselves are usually unbranded so I'm left with some illustrations from old catalogues that give makers names and photos of instruments that were made in the region but its not clear by whom? Any help would be good...

Albo Works

Alfred Borst ran a factory he called his Albo Works in Shöenbach, Czechoslovakia in the early part of the 20th century. They produced all manner of chordophones, both fretted and unfretted mainly for export to the rest of Europe. As well as the Albo brand, a lot of the instruments they produced were unbranded for other distributor to brand, or not as they desired. One Ukulele brand they definitely made was Radiotone, (there were also US made Regal Radio Tone - with a space - Guitars which are nothing to do with this). This was a Dallas brand of the 1930's and these Ukuleles were unusual because they were all steel strung archtop Tenors. This was the only Radiotone Ukulele in the Dallas catalogue but it is possible that this model may have gone under different names elsewhere in Europe, and that the manufacturer may have made other Ukuleles for the British market using different brand names? (I would guess that they made some of the Keech long scale Ukuleles, which was also distributed by Dallas. The business and factories didn't survive WW2 (unless you count Framus?)

Fritz Strobel

Instrument maker from Klingenthal, Saxony. The company seems to have focused mainly on Mandolins but had other stringed instruments in their range. They became part of Musima post war


Instrument manufacturer/distributor founded in 1854 and located in Markneukirchen and used the brand name Cea on both Ukuleles and Banjoleles. They too were integrated into Musima after WWII

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