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Violin by Kurt Oswald Meisel, Owatonna, Minnesota, 1965

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NMM 6145.  Violin by Kurt Oswald Meisel, Owatonna, Minnesota, 1965 Bass side of violin Back of violin

NMM 6145. Violin by Kurt Oswald Meisel (1903-1995), Owatonna, Minnesota, 1965. Serial no. 40. This is the last violin made by Kurt Oswald Meisel. Gift of Kurt Lothar and Patricia A. Meisel, 1998.



Technical Information


  • Printed in brown ink on light-brown paper label with visibly lined texture and wavy-line border, the location, date and serial number written in black ink: [bird on branch] Kurt O. Meisel [KOM monogram] / Violin maker and repairer / from Klingenthal, Germany [signed Kurt Meisel in blue ballpoint pen diagonally across/over all previous text] / Owatonna / Minn. 1965 No.40. The bird on the label represents the family branch, known as the "Bird" Meisels.
  • Branded on inside of back, visible through treble f-hole, and in front of top and bottom blocks: K.O.MEISEL / OWATONNA/MINN.
  • Branded on inside of top, in front of top and bottom blocks: K.O.MEISEL / OWATONNA/MINN.
  • Written on inside of top, upper treble bout, in black ink: Kurt Meisel / No.: 40 1965
  • Branded on bridge, toward fingerboard: K.O. MEISEL
  • Branded on bridge, toward tailpiece: OWATONNA/MINN.

Top:  two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: fine grain; from Schwarzberg in the Vogtland.

Back:  one-piece, quarter-cut maple: broad curl ascending from treble to bass; from the Carpathian Mountains.

Ribs:: quarter-cut maple: broad curl, angled to left; lower rib divided by two strips of purfling; rib corners chamfered.

Head and Neck: maple: medium curl; inside of pegbox stained black.

Edging: full, rounded edges.

Purfling: wide center strip.

Varnish:  light orange-brown.

Fingerboard: ebony.

Nut: ebony.

Tailpiece: ebony; engraved red-gold lyre inlaid in face; tulip-shaped.

Tailgut: black plastic.

Pegs: four rosewood with ivory pins; undercut heads; later, fitted by Lothar Meisel, made by Emil Lorenz, Bubenreuth, originally from Schönbach.

Saddle: ebony.

Endpin: rosewood with ivory pin; later, fitted by Lothar Meisel, made by Emil Lorenz, Bubenreuth, originally from Schönbach.

F-holes: lower wings slightly channeled; inside edges stained black.

Linings: spruce; wide.

Corner blocks: spruce.

Pegbox and Scroll

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


Back length:  355 mm
  Upper bout width:  168 mm
  Center bout width:  110 mm
  Lower bout width:  207 mm
Upper rib height: 29-30 mm
Center rib height: 29-30 mm
Lower rib height: 29-31 mm
Total violin length: 591 mm
  Stop length:  195 mm
  Vibrating string length:  327 mm
Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs): 132 mm


Lit.:  Thomas James Wenberg, Violin and Bow Makers of Minnesota (St. Paul: The Schubert Club Museum, 1988), pp. 64-65.

Prod. Julie Kucaj, "Lothar Meisel," Arts & Minds. Bravo! News Style Arts Channel, Toronto, 30-31 Jan. 2003.

K. Lothar Meisel with Betty Vos, The Meisel Family Violin Makers:  Klingenthal, Vogtland, Saxony (Ely, Minnesota: Singing River Publications, Inc., 2007), pp. 180-183.

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
about his father, Kurt Oswald Meisel (June 28, 2006)

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Most recent update:   May 14, 2016

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