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Alpine Zither (Special Arion Model) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, Missouri, 1900

Portrait view of zither

Note: Click on any image on this page to see an enlargement.

NMM 1271. Alpine zither (concert zither) by Franz Schwarzer, Washington, Missouri, 1900. Special Arion Model No. 64. Serial number 7859. 38 strings (5 melody, 33 accompaniment). Originally sold to A. D. Barnhart, April 23, 1900. Played by Mrs. George P. Sexauer, Brookings, South Dakota, first half 20th century. Gift of Verna S. Lippert, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 1977.

Front, Side, and Back Views

Front viewMelody strings side viewBass strings side view Back view

Advertisement for Arion Zither in 1898 Schwarzer Catalog

Arion Zither in 1898 Schwarzer catalog Arion Zither description in 1898 Schwarzer catalog

The NMM's custom-made zither differs from the Arion model no. 62 shown above and the Arion model 64 described above in Schwarzer's 1898 catalog. Listed in Schwarzer's factory records as a "Special Arion model 64," the NMM's example features a second soundhole, shell, scroll, and three additional strings.

Zither Tuning Pins, Shell, and Scroll

Head of zither

Serial Number and Date Inscription

Serial number Date inscribed inside shell decoration

Date inscribed inside shell decoration: 4 - 30 - 00 [April 30, 1900].
According to Schwarzer factory serial number records, this zither was sold on April 23, 1900.

Primary Soundhole and Maker's Label


Schwarzer label

Lower End Bridges and Hitch Pins

Lower end with hitch pins covered Lower end hitch pins uncovered


Literature:  "Research Projects Continue," Shrine to Music Museum, Inc. Newsletter 10, No. 4 (July 1983), p. 4.

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