c. 1840 C. F. Martin & Schatz

Pennsylvania, USA

Christian Friedrich Martin (1796–1873) and Heinrich Schatz (c. 1802–1867; later anglicized to “Henry”) began their careers as carpenters in Neukirchen, Saxony (now part of Germany). Both Martin and Schatz were employed in Vienna at the workshop of legendary luthier Johann Georg Stauffer in the early 1820s. While no evidence has emerged to confirm that either luthier was directly apprenticed by Stauffer, the influence of Stauffer’s guitar design is evident in the early work of both makers.

Date c. 1839
Location Pennsylvania, USA
Length of Guitar 950mm
String Length 626mm
Upper Bout Width 205mm
Waist Width 165mm
Lower Bout Width 284mm
Side Depth at Waist 90mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Brazilian rosewood| Sides: Brazilian rosewood| Details: Fitted with a scroll-shaped headstock with encased inline tuners.

Both luthiers ran afoul of the powerful and rigid violin maker’s guild in Saxony. The guild complained that furniture makers should be excluded from guitar making, which they included in their broadly defined purview as “all musical instruments that bring forth sound through strings.” This may have been one of the main reasons Schatz left Neukirchen for America in or around 1830, settling in Philadelphia to open a musical instrument import business. Martin followed in late 1833, landing in New York City where he established a full line music store and workshop at 196 Hudson St. in Lower Manhattan.

In 1835, Schatz purchased land in rural Mill Grove, Pennsylvania and relocated his family and operations from Philadelphia early the following year. In the same year, Martin and Schatz formed a short-lived partnership to build guitars marketed under a joint label. Their partnership lasted through late 1836 and produced Stauffer-style guitars fitted with a scroll-shaped headstock and turned down bridge. Their labels advertised, “MARTIN & SCHATZ from VIENNA, Pupils of the celebrated STAUFFER.” It is conjectured that part or all of their partnership output was built by Schatz and mailed to Martin in New York for completion and/or sale.

Martin followed Schatz to Pennsylvania in 1839, selling his New York retail operations and relocating to Cherry Hill – a few miles from Schatz in Mill Grove. (Cherry Hill is not far from Nazareth, Pennsylvania where Martin would eventually move his operations in 1859.) It was in 1839 that Martin and Schatz reunited once again to build guitars under the joint label, “C.F. Martin & Schatz.”

Their most celebrated collaboration is undoubtedly the C.F. Martin & Schatz from 1843 owned by Maria Dolores Esturias de Navarres De Goni ­(1813–1892; aka Madame De Goni), who hailed from Spain and wowed French and London audiences with her virtuosic performances. Madame De Goni later traveled to New York City in 1840 and immediately began to concertize to rave reviews. Evidence suggests she may have been in contact with Martin shortly after her arrival.

The De Goni Martin & Schatz, which is one of only four guitars that bear the same style Martin & Schatz label as the guitar in this collection, became codified as Martin’s Size 1 model and was fitted with a prototype x-bracing – a departure from Martin’s previous instruments fitted with either ladder or Spanish-style fan braces. It remains uncertain if this guitar was originally built or later modified with x-braces. Regardless, Martin’s innovative x-bracing design would become iconic after 1850 and is still used in Martin guitars today.

The c. 1840 Martin & Schatz in this collection retains some of the Stauffer-style, Austro-German design elements including the scroll-shaped head with in-line tuners. However, newer features – likely inspired by the Spanish makers – are also present. These would include the rectangular-shaped bridge, a body more similar in shape to guitars made in Cadíz, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, and fan braces used to support the soundboard in lieu of traditional ladder braces. The purfling is patterned with dark squares interspersed with a lighter-colored geometric design. The rosette uses a variation of the purfling design to match. The rear head stock assembly is encased with a metal plate engraved with a typical Viennese filigree.