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Violin by Kurt Lothar Meisel, Klingenthal, Saxony, 1947

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NMM 10454.  Violin by Kurt Lothar Meisel, Klingenthal, Saxony, 1947 Front view Bass side of violin Back of violin

NMM 10454. Violin by Kurt Lothar Meisel (1929-2011), Klingenthal, 1947. Serial no. 3. Lothar began his apprenticeship in May/June 1946 and made this violin for the Communist violin maker's cooperative. Since the cooperative did not have its own labels, apprentices were allowed to insert their own labels into the instruments they produced. Prior to its acquisition for the Meisel family collection, this violin was actively being played in the Liverpool Youth Orchestra in England. Gift of Neal and Karin (Meisel) Steffenson, Owatonna, 2003.

Kurt Lothar Meisel

Lothar Meisel examines one of the Meisel Family violins during a visit to the NMM in 2003.

Lothar Meisel

Technical Information


  • Written in black ink on paper label with single ink line border, the lettering in German Gothic style: gebaut v. Lothar Meisel, / Sohn des Geigenbaumeisters / Kurt Meisel / Klingenthal 1947. No. 3.
  • Branded on bridge, toward fingerboard: K.L. MEISEL
  • Branded on bridge, toward tailpiece: OWATONNA/MINN.

Top:  two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: medium grain.

Back:  two-piece, quarter-cut maple: faint, medium curl descending from center joint.

Ribs:  quarter-cut maple: faint, medium curl, angled to right on bass side, angled to left on treble side; lower ribs divided by thin ebony strip; rib corners slightly rounded.

Head and Neck: maple: medium curl.

Edging: full, rounded edges.

Purfling: maple and pearwood; wide center strip.

Varnish:  dark red-brown; still soft.

Fingerboard: ebony (the maker notes that the fingerboard is original and that the poor quality wood was the only kind available in Klingenthal at the time).

Nut: ebony.

Tailpiece: ebony; tulip-shaped; rounded end; mother-of-pearl eye surrounded by brass ring; the maker attests that this and all other fittings are original.

Tailgut: black plastic.

Pegs: four ebony with mother-of-pearl eyes enclosed in brass rings.

Saddle: ebony.

Endpin: ebony with mother-of-pearl eye enclosed in brass ring.

F-holes: lower wings channeled.

Linings: spruce.

Corner blocks: spruce.



Pegbox and Scroll

Front view of pegbox Bass side view of pegbox Back view of pegbox


Back length:  357 mm
  Upper bout width:  168 mm
  Center bout width:  110 mm
  Lower bout width:  208 mm
Upper rib height: 28-29 mm
Center rib height: 29-30 mm
Lower rib height: 30-31 mm
Total violin length: 591 mm
  Stop length:  193 mm
  Vibrating string length:  326 mm
Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs): 132 mm


Lit.: K. Lothar Meisel with Betty Vos, The Meisel Family Violin Makers:  Klingenthal, Vogtland, Saxony (Ely, Minnesota: Singing River Publications, Inc., 2007), pp. 208-211.

The NMM preserves violins from each of eight generations of the Meisel family.

Go to Checklist of Bowed Stringed Instruments Made by Members of the Meisel Familiy

Go to the NAMM Oral History Interview Project to see a short video interview with Kurt Lothar Meisel (June 28, 2006)

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