Eugene Howard or Howard Eugene

I need help on this one, as something doesn’t add up.  Or maybe it does add up – frankly, it’s just too much of a coincidence not too.

OK, you remember the Howard harp guitar I showed in last week’s blog on the Stutzman harp guitars?

It’s a model I haven’t paid much attention to, and had only sporadic information on.   I knew that Michael Holmes’ Mugwumps Encyclopedia listed Howard as a “Wurlitzer brandname (1896-1920s),” and I’ve had this Wurlitzer ad in Iconography for years (sorry, no record of where I got it, possibly Michael Holmes himself).

Something I never paid attention to was that Mugwumps also listed a “Howard, Eugene” as maker during the same period, and also in Cinninati.  Obviously, this sounds like the source of the Howard brand at Wurlitzer – everyone agreed?

I had a never seen a label from this instrument until by complete coincidence a fellow name Ed Lofgren sent me a photo of his own instrument literally 4 days after I had done my Stutzman post.  As you can see, this matches the Mugwumps listing, stating, “Eugene Howard, Maker.”  One can further see that the Stutzman instrument almost certainly has the exact same label (the graphics are just visible in John Doan’s lo-res camera phone photo).

But you may recall that in my Stutzman blog, I had jumped to the conclusion that “Howard” was, in fact, Howard Wurlitzer, one of founder Rudolph’s sons who had then joined the business.  That seemed to add up, didn’t it?

So was I wrong?  Well, after seeing the new label, I did some more checking, and it seems that Howard Wurlitzer’s middle name was “Eugene.”

OK – what’s the gag?!  There is no way that in circa 1900, Cinninatti counted among its citizens a Eugene Howard and a Howard Eugene Wurlitzer, both of whom happened to be guitar makers, with the former providing the latter with his harp guitar to carry under their common name. Gotta be some pseudonym, right?

Someone please tell me I’m not crazy.

  1. Travis Mullenix Says:

    Hi Gregg…This is an old post of yours that I am responding to, but I have a circa 1905 Eugene Howard and or Howard Eugene parlor guitar that I’m going to have restored and have been trying to find info on them. Especially serial number info for dating. From what I can find, I believe you are correct in assuming that there was only one Howard guitar maker in Cincinatti in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s. Howard Eugene Wurlitzer. Eldest son of Rudolph Wurlitzer. Have you found out any more information on these guitars/harps in the past 5 years since this post??? I’m very curious. Thanks

  2. David Says:

    Gregg, Travis, I have a guitar with this exact same label but the name is faded away. you can still make out the serial number. It needs some restoration. Mostly frets, the guitar is solid. It is a parlor guitar, looks like oak body. It has the nicest set of tuners I have ever seen. The tuners have nickel or silver covers that go down the sides of the head stock and also wrap under the back side. Very fancy. One long piece on each side. They are stamped: patented march 13 1894. Thanks for the info. I have been trying to figure out the maker and found your comments.


  3. Christina Schnetzer Says:

    I have an 1894 as well and It is in playing condition, do not going to restore

  4. Kevin Says:

    I recently posted online a Howard Auditorium Harp Guitar on auction at a ridiculous price in order to get feedback on its history. It is identical to the Howard Auditorium Harp guitar ads you have posted. Are you thinking early 1920’s then? Before? After? It is in nearly immaculate condition, and I purchased it with the custom made guitar case that the original owner hand crafted. Thanks much, Kevin.

  5. Lee Says:

    l also have a early 1900s howard guitar . mine is all original it has only had neck reset. its no cracks and sounds better than a 1891 guitar l have and its a washburn .

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