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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.


corilon violins

The end of the great instrument-making companies in Mirecourt


The decline and fall of the industrial production of stringed instruments in France –
the fourth and final chapter of our series


The factories in Mirecourt began to weaken during the Great Depression and were especially affected by the outbreak of the Second World War and Germany's invasion of France. In the post-war era they were no longer able to attain their former strength. J.T.L., Laberte Magnié and Couesnon all met an end at nearly the same time. The flagging demand during the hardships which afflicted mid-century Europe was not the only reason why these companies could not resume where they had left off. Instead, industrial instrument-making underwent massive and rapid progress in technical innovations, and the weakened giants of Mirecourt could not efficiently hold their own.

New centres of industry elsewhere in Europe and overseas became more and more important, and within an alarmingly short time, all three French companies discontinued production in the late 1960s. First Couesnon was forced to declare bankruptcy in May 1967, followed by J.T.L. closing its factories in 1968, and finally Laberte shut down after no successor could be found when Philippe Laberte died in 1969. Of the three, only the name J.T.L. was to survive the collapse of the industry, and it lives on as a brand name under the management of a company in Woodford Green, UK.



Related articles:

On the history of industrial manufactories in Mirecourt

Mirecourt: the spacious home of French violin making

The Laberte family companies

Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy - J.T.L.

Couesnon: The third defining element in modern violin making in Mirecourt

Bazin: the great name of Mirecourt bow making

Morizot, père et frères: the short history of a great family of bow makers

Mirecourt's new masters: contemporary violin makers in Mirecourt

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • WORKED OVER; SOUND SAMPLE: 18th century Markneukirchen viola, c.1780
  • WORKED OVER; NEW SOUND SAMPLE: Fine contemporary master violin, Wolfgang Schiele, Munich
  • Modern Italian viola, Stefano Conia, Cremona 1985 (certificate Stefano Conia)
  • WORKED OVER; NEW SOUND SAMPLE: French master violin No. 34 by Paul Hilaire, 1950
  • French "Rugginelli" violin, sold by Beare & Son, 1902
  • Historic French violin, Remy, Paris approx. 1840
  • 3/4 - Fine French 3/4 violin, approx. 1910
  • Contemporary Italian violin, Gianni Norcia, Bologna
  • Giulio Cesare Gigli, fine 18th century Italian violin, approx. 1760 (certificate Etienne Vatelot)
  • TONALLY IMPROVED: Good Schönbach viola, Ferdinand Fischer, 1935
  • Cremonese master violin, Piergiuseppe Esposti, 1998 (certificate Piergiuseppe Esposti)
  • Fine Markneukirchen viola, Johann Christian Voigt II, 18th century
  • Modern Mittenwald viola, Matthias Klotz 1982
  • Fine Italian viola by Marcello Martinenghi, 1949 (certificate Eric Blot)
  • 1/2 - antique 19th century French 1/2 violin, c.1870
  • WORKED OVER AND TONALLY IMPROVED: Ernst Heinrich Roth, Markneukirchen, fine 1922 violin - Guarnerius model
  • Fine 18th century Mittenwald violin, petite and elegant, approx. 1780
  • Old Mittenwald violin, Josef Rieger, 1927
  • Ernst Heinrich Roth, old Bubenreuth violin from 1955, certificate
  • English viola by Alan McDougall
  • 3/4 - old Mittenwald 3/4 violin: mature, clear sound
  • Fine French violin bow, for Paul Serdet
  • TONALLY OPTIMIZED: Interesting Southern Italian violin, early 20th century
  •  Contemporary Italian master violin by Nicola Vendrame, Venice