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Old musical gear catalog

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,455
I'm a combination player/collector/historian, and I've built up a small library of information about the obscure niches of guitar history that interest me. I also think it's nifty to keep a copy of a contemporary catalog with an instrument, just in case I need to look up the original list price of an amp from 1960. Rarely do I spend the money for original catalogs (most of what I have are reprints or digital scans), but I just splurged for a 1938 Targ & Dinner distributor's catalog because I have several Nationals listed inside.

What really struck me, beyond the wealth of info on early National electrics, was the lengthy section on accessories. Targ & Dinner sold everything from guitars and brass instruments to crank-powered portable record players, strings, music stands and guitar parts. Here are a few of my favorite pages.

Squier-Trued Strings, which would be bought by Fender in 1965 and give its name to the Squier line two decades later:


"Eureka Noiseless Talking Machine Lubricant": the most old-timey name I can possibly imagine. Opposite, replacement springs for record players (these were the "motors" that enabled crank-powered players to work). Having looked inside my Victrola, I wouldn't want to mess around in there without first obtaining a mechanic's license:


Kay Orchestra Desk Stands. Whole orchestras - whether they played jazz, Hawaiian, blues or pop - used to have one of these in front of every string player. It never occurred to me where they bought them:


Finally, a supplement from 1940, with a note that was probably written at the end of 1939 warning that "the critical European turmoil" might cause unforeseen problems with delivery:
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,455
Wow! Am I seeing that right? A music stand for $15.00 in 1938? Wasn't that like 2 years pay back then?
According to one inflation calculator, it's $248 in today's money. A lot of accessories seem very expensive; my National New Yorker steel is listed at $82.50 in this catalog, but the case - which was separate - cost $18.00. Imagine buying a $1350 guitar now and having to spend an additional $300 on the case!
 

ggwwbb

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,741
Cool stuff! I've got a few from the 80's that I've saved for some reason or another. MF, Carvin, and one or two others.....If you're interested in them PM, me. I'd be happy to donate them to your collection.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,455
So cool.
Love the lettering, the fonts.
That reminds me... I recently bought a National Style O. I've seen people write both the letter O and the number 0, and either would make sense in National's nomenclature scheme. I went back through a few old catalogs trying to determine which was technically correct, and it turns out that both were used. Maybe I should just call it my "Style Circle".
 

telelion

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,808
I would enjoy seeing some of the old Sears, Montgomery Wards catalogs from the 60's. Man I used to drool over the guitars, amps and sparkle drum kits. Not to mention Lafayette and Allied. A tin foiled four pickup guitar was my dream.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,305
I used to have a bunch of those distributor/jobber books when I collected vintage literature. They have a lot of cool stuff in them.
 






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