ORPHEUM
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ORPHEUM
Instruments previously manufactured in Chicago, IL during the 1930s and 1940s, in Japan during the 1960s, and in Asia, between 2001 and 2006. Instruments Distributed by William L. Lange Company of New York, NY, and by C. Bruno & Son until 1942. Distributed by Maurice Lipsky Music Company, Inc., of New York, NY between 1944 and the early 1970s, by Tacoma Guitars between 2001 and 2004 and by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation between 2005 and 2006.
The Orpheum trademark goes back to 1901. Orpheum guitars were first introduced by distributor William L. Lange Company of New York in the mid-1930s. The Orpheum brand instruments were also distributed by C. Bruno & Son during this early period. It is estimated that some of the Orpheum models were built in Chicago, IL by the Kay company.
Lange's company went out of business in the early 1940s, but New York distributor Maurice Lipsky resumed distribution of Orpheum guitars circa 1944. The Maurice Lipsky Music Company continued distributing Orpheum guitars, through to the 1960s (see also Domino).
Until more research is done in the Orpheum area, prices will continue to fluctuate. Be very cautious in the distinction between the American models and the later overseas models produced in Japan. "What the market will bear" remains the watchword for Orpheums.
In 2001, Tacoma reintroduced the Orpheum brand name on a line of acoustic instruments. In 2005, when Fender bought Tacoma and related trademarks, Orpheum became only a bluegrass trademark as mandolins, resonators, and banjos were offered. By 2006, Orpheum no longer appeared with Fender the status of the trademark is unknown. Sources: Tom Wheeler, American Guitars, Orpheum Manufacturing Company catalog courtesy John Kinnemeyer, JK Lutherie.

From Blue Book Publications:


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