Early Central European Manufacturers click for more

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Aug Zimmermann leipzig German Soprano Ukulele
Aug. Zimmermann Leipzig
From very early on the the Ukuleles history there have been a number of instruments coming out of Germany (or Schoenbach, 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 or photos of instruments that were made in the region but its not clear by whom? Any help would be good...

Eduard Tauscher & Co - Taco

Founded in 1889 in Erlbach, It started out as a family run workshop making Violins and continued, still in the family until it became part of Musima after WWII. I have also read that Musima continued to use the brand name and logo, and employed members of the Tauscher family to make the instruments until 1972. The name Taco was taken from shortening Tauscher & Co and the diamond logo was a 20th century design, (I don't know when it came into play but I have seen Taco branded instruments from before it). Though it started out as a Violin maker it went on to produce other chordophones and I have seen Guitars, Mandolins and Banjos with this branding as well as Ukuleles


I don't have much on this firm. What I do know is they were a German maker of predominantly toy musical instruments and are probably more famous for their (actual metal) toy Saxophones than their stringed instruments. The instruments were made in Germany and what was Czechoslovakia through where Haro owned the factories making them I don't know? all of the Haro instruments I have seen were made before WWII so I assume they didn't survive the war and whilst some of their Ukuleles were obviously toys some look like proper soprano Ukuleles, (albeit not of great quality)


Thought the founder, (Julius Heinrich Zimmermann), was of German origin the firm started in St. Petersberg, Russia as a music publisher in 1876 and in 1880 he opened a factory making Brass instruments. Subsequent expansion led to offices in Moscow, Riga, Leipzig, (where they purchased the Gustav Fiedler piano factory), Berlin and London, and the manufacture of Pianos, woodwind stringed instruments and early gramophones; in fact in the very early 20th century they were one of the biggest music firms in Europe. Success allowed Zimmermann to return to Germany so when the Russian Revolution of 1917 nationalised all of the Russian based assets, (the eldest son August managed to escape but the younger son Wilhelm didn't and was imprisoned), the firm continued out of the Leipzig and Berlin offices in Germany. With the death of Julius in 1923 August took over as manager and in 1928 when Wilhelm managed to return to Germany and the firm was split in two, with August managing instrument manufacture and Wilhelm music publishing. Being part Jewish and publishing Jazz music the two firms did not fair well with the rise of Nazism in Germany and the manufacturing side became insolvent in 1933, (though it is moot as to if this demise was solely down to the rise of Fascism or if some poor management contributed?). On the publishing side Wilhelm was not officially allowed to manage a business but apparently still did until the end of WWII, (he died in 1946) Having the firm nationalised by the East German Communist regime, Wilhelm's wife Edith managed to escape to the west and set up again in Frankfurt. With her death in 1975 her daughter took over and through the have merged with another firm the publishing side of the business is still going today as Musikverlag Zimmermann.
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