H.A. Weymann and Son of Philadelphia (1865–1940’s) are best known for their beautifully crafted, elaborate 1920s tenor banjos, but they also made exquisite guitars. But their numbers are few. I’ve collected 6 of these guitars and I have been researching their history and the history of the company for some years now.
When his father died in 1888 and Frank Henry Martin took over the mantle as the head of C.F. Martin & Co, the company was dealing with a distribution problem. C.A. Zoebisch & Sons had exclusive distribution rights to all Martin instruments and Frank Martin did not think they were devoting sufficient effort to promote their guitars. At that time, H.A. Weymann & Son were retailers and had been purchasing Martin guitars from Zoebisch & Sons and selling them in their shop (see c.1890 Weymann retail catalogue).
That the Weymann manufacturing business evolved out of their retailing is significant. Their retail establishment initially allowed Weymann to have a ready market for what they produced, as well as access to the end user that we would today term ‘extensive market research’. It allowed them to experiment and produce a wide range of instruments, where other makers could not.”
This is an early H.A. Weymann and Son made guitar dated c.1906. Labelled ‘Keystone State’ with their early gold decal shield shape that was discontinued about 1910. It has deep red Cuban mahogany back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck and Brazilian rosewood fret board. It has a serial number of 6044. Weymann’s very early guitars did not have serial numbers, and they started adding them about 1900. Sometime around 1910 they also added style numbers.
This guitar is larger than the standard sized guitar of the era. This would have been called Grand Concert size. It has similar measurements to C.F. Martin and Co. 12 Fret size ‘O’ guitar.
first saw this guitar when it was in pieces. It has a lower bout measurement of 16 1/2″. (Further measurements are in this post). It is stamped on the top of the headstock with serial number 18,488 and Style number 30. It has the gold decal which was used from about 1910 to 1915.
A sweet sounding maple backed Weymann that would have been the lower end of the Weymann price range in it’s day. It has a stylized painted faux rosewood finish over the maple. Beautiful spruce top. Before this was repaired it was split in half along the side (see the first photo in the gallery), which is probably the reason the finish is in such good condition. We retained it’s ladder bracing and the only real addition was a new ebony bridge and an additional top up coat of French polish.
I think it would have originally had gut strings but seems to take lightweight Silk and Steel strings well. As with all H.A. Weymann and Son instruments the workmanship is superb.
Keystone State’ labeled, Philadelphia based H. A Weymann and Son c.1922 rare guitar. Ladder braced, spruce top, very beautifully grained dark rich red mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and headstock, original ebony fretboard. I read where someone thought that Weymann used Cuban mahogany on their guitars, that makes sense.
This Weymann guitar appeared for sale on ebay in May 2013. It has Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a spruce top. It is a beautiful large vintage instrument, and does not carry a serial number (I asked at the time), therefore if I am correct that would date it late 1890’s. It has the Weymann decal shield shape that was used prior to 1910. “Weymann Highest Grade”.
Total Length 38 1/2″
Body Length 19 1/2″
Upper Bout 10 1/2″
Lower Bout 14 5/8″
Body Depth 4 1/8″
Unusually for the era it has banjo tuners. It also has beautiful purfling and sound hole rosettes, and mother of pearl fret markers.
I would love to hear from you if you own this guitar.
H. A. Weymann and Son was founded by Henry Arnold Weymann (c.1829 – 1892) who was born in Hanover, Niedersachsen, Germany about 1829. According to his descendent, Greg Weymann he was christened Heirich, but Henry is the name he used in America.
Henry migrated to America in 1852, arriving in Philadelphia where he lived the rest of his life. He was naturalized in 1858. In 1864 he commenced a small business and it is from this date that Henry later attributes to the founding of H.A. Weymann and Son. In 1865 he is reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer as having an annual taxable income of $136.
From early trade cards (late 1800’s and early 1900’s) it appears he started out selling diamonds, jewelry, watches and clocks. harmonicas, sheet music, and ‘small goods’, some of which were most likely imported from his birth country, Germany.