Violin Attributed to Thomas L. Fawick, Cleveland OH, circa 1949-1959
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We are offering a violin Mr. Judd attributes to the engineer and inventor Thomas Fawick (1889-1980) whom we find to be a very interesting and talented American. Fawick built his first automobile in 1910 (the first four-door passenger car). At one time Fawick held 252 patents, primarily in the auto industry, and owned two companies that made automobile parts. He started working with violins in the late 1930’s and his passion for violins also led him to be a collector of fine violins. In today’s terms we might call him a violin geek and by 1940 he had started his second business venture, which included both automobile clutches and violins, Fawick Corp. In 1949 he was totally into violins, owning his own real 1725 Stradivarius violin. Fawick did not make violins and as far as I know he did not label most of his instruments that he had commissioned to be made. He had domestic wood sent to France and had the violin plates and rib system, along with the blocks and linings, made by Hellier, a French maker. Then these parts were all returned to him in the states. He commissioned workers from the Scherl & Roth shop to work in their evening hours to assemble the pieces and varnish the instruments. One of his trademarks was to have the neck made of two pieces of curly maple joined right down the center of the neck. Something an engineer would be interested in and experiment with because the structural component of this technique to add strength to the neck. Fawick also invented the Fawick mute -manufactured in Akron, OH and endorsed by Jascha Hiefetz. Quite an endorsement.
Corpus 356.5 mm, Major Width 207.5 mm., Minor Width 166.0 mm., Rib Height 30.0 – 30.5 mm.
The sound on the instrument is crisp and clean. The violin has some punch and is ringing on all four voices. The sound has a sustain that loses nothing as I moved up into positions. The response off the strings is genuine; full of life that will fill up hall. I did have to lay into the instrument to produce the sound and reveal the strength the violin possess. The G and D strings produce a buttery bass sound, and the treble strings are on the brighter side. A violin with a gorgeous one -piece maple back, and tremendous clarity in the varnish with American domestic woods. Really a French violin and French craftsmanship which was then fully reassembled and varnished back in the state of Ohio. Quite a journey for an instrument now here at our shop some seventy to eighty years later.