Harmonica

GGJaguar

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I don't usually associate harmonicas with East Germany (DDR, German Democratic Republic),

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Rocky

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I don't usually associate harmonicas with East Germany (DDR, German Democratic Republic),
Well, in the late 40's, a number of manufacturers decided to move their factories to the Western half of the country, leaving behind their old factory, which may have been taken up under new management, and made goods sold to folks in the Soviet bloc. Which worked for both sides, as they weren't able to compete against each other in their markets.

When the wall came down, a lot of those Eastern factories were then able to compete head-to-head with their Western roots. And, of course, the German government subsidized a number of former East German companies to prop up the economy over there. Which meant that taxes on the Western companies subsidized their direct competition.

Kind of messy.

Those harmonicas do look pretty close to some Hohner instruments. But I wouldn't dare to guess who originated them.
 

SFIV1967

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...leaving behind their old factory, which may have been taken up under new management, and made goods sold to folks in the Soviet bloc. Which worked for both sides, as they weren't able to compete against each other in their markets.
The musical instrument factories in the Kingenthal and Markneukirchen area are there since 350 years or so, C.F. Martin originated from there before he moved to the US in 1833. Anyway, most factories after Wold War II were privately owned but in the late 1950ies and especially 1960s they were forced to form larger state owned cooperations. Any you would be surprised that the larger amount of instruments made there did not end up in shops in the East block but were sold world wide in large volume! So they did defintely compete with western manufacturers but had a hard time competing agains the Far Eastern companies. Most of they however were not able to compete with the western comanies after the wall came down. Just a few that survived but they made and still make great instruments.

A good article was this (mostly guitar related in that case):

Ralf
 

SFIV1967

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Those harmonicas do look pretty close to some Hohner instruments. But I wouldn't dare to guess who originated them.
Actually one of the harmonica factories in Klingenthal is the oldest still producing harmonica factory in the world! Founded 1847! So it was not Hohner who was first. Matthias Hohner only founded his company in 1857!
The harmonica as we know it now was invented in Vienna Austria around 1825. The Wilhelm Thie Harmonica company opened 1834 there but does not exist anymore. Their harmonicas sell for big money today:

Anyway, here is some info on Seydel in Klingenthal:

"In 1898 Seydel produced the legendary 'Bandmaster' for the first time,..." and "Newspapers warned of companies that made illegal copies of it." !


Ralf
 
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SFIV1967

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One more:
In post #1 Seydel is not mentioned because they were forced to work as part of VERMONA (Vereinigte Harmonikawerke Klingenthal = United Harmonica Works Klingenthal).

And DEMUSA was responsible for the export business, which stood for
Deutsche Musikinstrumenten- und Spielwaren Außenhandelsgesellschaft mbH (East-German foreign trade company for musical instruments and toys). So that was a state owned business advertising the instruments.

Ralf
 
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Rocky

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Anyway, most factories after Wold War II were privately owned but in the late 1950ies and especially 1960s they were forced to form larger state owned cooperations. Any you would be surprised that the larger amount of instruments made there did not end up in shops in the East block but were sold world wide in large volume! So they did defintely compete with western manufacturers but had a hard time competing agains the Far Eastern companies. Most of they however were not able to compete with the western comanies after the wall came down. Just a few that survived but they made and still make great instruments.

Ralf
My experiences with East/West German manufacturers are in a different field. I figured I could extrapolate to other industries.

I'm still trying to figure out how RFT vacuum tubes managed to get COO-washed as Siemens brand.
 

SFIV1967

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I'm still trying to figure out how RFT vacuum tubes managed to get COO-washed as Siemens brand.
I'm not exactly sure what "COO-washed" means? You mean that RFT tubes were branded as Siemens?

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That was very common and a great way for East Germany to get Deutschmarks or Dollars.
A lot of EL34 were produced as "dimple top" by RFT and rebranded for West German and US companies with the exact same specs as Philips and Telefunken.
Even the Bundeswehr in West Germany bought tubes from RFT! Most spare transmitter tubes bought by the Bundeswehr after 1975 were exclusively coming from East Germany (Manufacturer was WF, the Werk für Fernseh-Elektronik in East-Berlin). They were branded as Siemens or AEG, so it was not so easy to spot that they were purchased from "the enemy"!

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This National Electronic EL34 / 6 CA 7 was produced by RFT:

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And Groove Tubes EL34 was for many years coming from RFT and could be found in Dynacord, Marshall, Rivera, Reußenzahn and many other amplifiers.

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Source: http://www.jogis-roehrenbude.de/EL34-Story/EL34-Story-Seite4.htm

Ralf
 

Rocky

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I'm not exactly sure what "COO-washed" means? You mean that RFT tubes were branded as Siemens?
Sorry. Country of Origin. Items from East Germany were certainly tariff-disadvantaged, if not outright banned in the US, whereas items from West Germany were given favored status. By getting "Siemens West Germany" screened on them, they were able to sell them without issue.

Obscuring the country of origin isn't typically legal: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1999-10-30-9910300246-story.html
 
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