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.
By 1864 H.A. Weymann was married to Rebecca Myers (1840 -1914 ) and eventually had 7 children, Harry William (H. W.) Weymann being the eldest boy born in 1866.
When H. A. Weymann died in 1892, it was his son Harry who took control of the business, but still retained the name H.A. Weymann and Son.
It appears that when Harry took over in 1892 that the business was a relatively successful retail establishment selling a variety of goods; jewelry, watches, clocks, spectacles, silver ware, sheet music and imported musical instruments. They may have also had a small instrument manufacturing business as well, which I suspect were mainly retailed through the shop.
The earliest reference I could find to H. A. Weymann and Son manufacturing guitars is from The S. S. Stewart’s Banjo & Guitar Journal of Feb/March 1894, where 3rd and 4th prizes in a competition were a Weymann and Son Mandolin and Case valued at $35 and a Weymann and Son Guitar and Case valued at $25 respectfully. “The 3rd and 4th prizes in this class were kindly contributed by Weymann and Son, manufacturers, No. 45 North Ninth Street, and are known as ‘Keystone State Mandolins and Guitars’ “.
Further evidence that Weymann’s were making guitars in the early 1890’s is from an article in the Fretboard Journal No.11 Fall 2008 about talented luthier Carl C. Holzapfel, where the author, Neil Harpe, mentions Carl Holzapfel worked for Weymanns for a short time in the early 1890’s.
It is not until the late 1890’s that further mentions appear in either the Music Trade Review or Stewart’s Banjo and Guitar Journal about Weymann manufacturing instruments. I suspect that prior to the late 1890s H.A.Weymann and Son were retailing the majority of the stringed instruments they manufactured. I have not come across any of their instruments from this era.