1852 Schmidt & Maul

New York, USA

Louis Schmidt, along with Henry Schatz, worked with C. F. Martin in his workshop on the Lower West Side of Manhattan soon after Martin arrived from Germany in late 1833; and while there is no evidence to suggest that George Maul worked in Martin’s shop, he may have been contracted by Martin as his name is mentioned on a couple of occasions in the ledger book. Schmidt left in 1838 just before Martin moved his operation to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and a year later, Schmidt partnered with Maul to form Schmidt & Maul, “Guitar Manufacturers.” In 1843 they expanded their partnership to include Philip Ernst, forming Ernst, Schmidt & Maul. They continued in business until Schmidt’s apparent retirement in 1858, but Maul continued making guitars under his own name until 1869.

Date 1852
Location New York, USA
Length of Guitar 960mm
String Length 625mm
Upper Bout Width 220mm
Waist Width 183mm
Lower Bout Width 308mm
Side Depth at Waist 97mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Brazilian rosewood | Sides: Brazilian rosewood | Details: Soundboard uses x-bracing.

The 1852 Schmidt & Maul in this collection carries their stamp on the head block and is signed and dated on the underside of the soundboard: “Louis Schmidt, Tompkinsville Staten Island, New York 385 Broadway, October 18th 1852, U.S.”

The top is made of Adirondack spruce, with back and sides of Brazilian rosewood. The cedar neck has a headstock fitted with its original Jerome tuners – the same French-made tuning mechanisms used by Martin up until the 1860s. And similar to Martin guitars from this period, Schmidt used a variation of Martin’s trademark x-brace configuration to support the soundboard. The three-ring rosette has a green tooth-shaped inner ring surrounded by two smaller outer rings.

Schmidt & Maul manufactured guitars that competed with Martin in both quality and sound in the early years of the Martin dynasty. The 1852 guitar in this collection is in excellent and original condition.