NMM 10111. Resonator guitar by the Dobro Brothers, Chicago, 1978. Nickel-plated body with engraved and etched designs. Patented in 1927 by John Dopyera in Los Angeles, such instruments soon gave way to electric guitars, but single-cone, metal-body models like this caught on with blues players, while wood-body models found a home in country music and bluegrass. This example was made, as a gift for the donor, at the request of Olga Crow, an art dealer in L.A., whose uncles were the Dopyera brothers. They had just retired, but found an old blank in their workshop and made this example, which she received at the end of April 1978.
Jozef Dopyera, a miller in Dolná Krupá by Trnava, Slovakia, was also a gifted musician who played a fiddle he made himself. His oldest son, Ján (John), born in Stráže in 1893, also built a fiddle in Dolná Krupá, but he and two of his brothers (there were ten children) moved to Los Angeles in 1908. In 1926 he patented his resophonic, steel-body guitar with three aluminum resonators, and, with his brothers, Rudi and Emil, and other investors, founded the National String Instrument Company, then separated and formed another company, Dopyera Brothers. The subsequent name, Dobro, was based on the first letter of DOpyera BROthers. John Dopyera died in 1988 in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Gift of MSG Pamela D. Schmidt, U.S. Army Reserve, and Western International Music, Greeley, Colorado, 2002.
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