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.
Further proof that H. A. Weymann and Son was an innovator in stringed instrument development is a few surviving 12 fret flat top Jumbo and Super Jumbo guitars.
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.
Overall Length: 37″
Body Length: 18″
Lower Bout: 12 1/4″
Upper Bout: 8 3/4″
Depth at Base: 3 3/4″
Scale: 24 1/2″
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.
When his father died in 1892 the young 26 year old Harry (H. W. Weymann) energetically expanded the business.
In 1899 the S.S. Stewart Banjo factory in Philadelphia closed following the death of the company’s founder the previous year. There is conjecture Harry Weymann took advantage and purchased some of the materials and equipment from this factory and hired retrenched Stewart workers to greatly expand his manufacturing.
(Updated 1 Feb 2019: With the addition of new information the serial number dating for Weymann instruments has now been revised. See the new dating table below:
(Update 10 May 2019: I came across this photo of a mandolin that was on a website by Tommy’s Guitars in Chicago:
I contacted Tommy’s Guitars and they tried to find the original photo but the sale was some time ago and they could not find a better quality photo. But they do know that the documentation was dated 1899.
If I could find the now owner of this mandolin it could answer some questions about when H.A. Weymann and Son started serializing instruments, which at present those early years are a bit of a mystery. So if you bought this mandolin from Tommy’s Guitars, or now own this mandolin, or know who does, please contact me email@example.com . Many thanks, Charles.) end of update.
While there is evidence that H.A. Weymann & Son, Philadelphia, were making stringed instruments from 1894 or earlier for their retail outlet, it looks likely that they did not increase production for wholesale purposes until the late 1890’s. The catalyst for this was possibly the buying of production equipment and spare parts from the discontinued S.S. Stewart enterprise in 1898, also of Philadelphia.
Their very early banjos and guitars carried a gold decal, but no serial or style (model) number. Still later they carried a serial number but no style number. I believe around 1900 they finally added a style number as well.