Epiphone Howard

header howard

There are only 3 Howards (≠ Howard Roberts)  we know of.  Howard s/n 7235 (left) is part of the collection of Robert Lee, Lafayette, New York.  Howard s/n 7388 (middle) resides in our museum. Howard s/n 8026 (right) belongs to Shelley Payton, Cincinnati, Ohio, who wrote us that the instrument had been in the family since the early 50’s.  All three instruments have the serialnumber blind stamped on the interior back below the bass f-hole, similar to the regular Epiphone archtops. There is no indication that there has been a label as well. see pictures

Paul Fox : “There is not a lot known about the Howard brand, but a very early and recently uncovered sales flyer seems to indicate they were made for the Wurlitzer Company, who had a “Howard” brand back in the early 1900s see picture. Most likely, Wurlitzer built their own guitars up to the 1920s, but in the 1930s concentrated on manufacturing their world famous jukeboxes, and had other companies like Epiphone make their guitars and other stringed instruments.”

Nice Guitar: The Epiphone book (F&F) mentions it is unknown who was the owner or distributor of Howard. However, based on the advertisements see pictures it would be very likely to assume that the Howard brand actually was a house-brand of the Wurlitzer company. Founder Rudolph Wurlitzer’s brother was called Howard, so these instruments might very well be named after him. The instrument (Howard s/n 7388) is well known amongst vintage enthousiasts as it is depicted on p.187 of the Gruhn/Carter book Acoustic Guitars.”

Eugene Howard was the Cincinnati, OH maker of Howard brand instruments c. 1896-1920s. They were distributed by Wurlitzer, a major wholesaler, with branches in Cincinnati and Chicago. Later, Howard became a Wurlitzer brandname. (source: http://www.mugwumps.com/faq.html)

According to Wiedler Epiphone produced around 200 Howards & Sorrentinos of which now 3 Howards have been registered.

References:
Felix Wiedler, NY Epi Reg
Paul Fox, Epiphone made brands
George Gruhn & Walter Carter, Acoustic Guitars, 1993, p.187
Jim Fisch & L.B. Fred, The House of Stathopoulo, 1996, p. 24, 92
Paul Bechtoldt, Vintage Guitar Magazine, February 1996, p. 170
Zachary R. Fjestad, Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, 12th edition, p. 361
Walter Carter, The Epiphone Guitar Book, 2012, p.125