World’s Best

Left: Queen Victoria Building of George Street where D Davis & Co operated out of in the 1920’s. Right: D Davis & Co True Tone advertisement from 1939.

Here we go again. Why? Why?

This author has unearthed another Aussie harp the True Tone and the fact it was produced for the Oz market is beyond reasonable doubt. Manufactured for D Davis & Co by, at first sight F A Bohm, but maybe not. In 1937 D Davis & Co were selling eight models that included; three ten holers (20 reeds), two twenty holers (forty reeds), a thirty two holer (64 reeds) and two chromatics – a forty reed and a forty eight reed. Eight years earlier, when D Davis & Co were in the Queen Victoria Building of George Street Sydney, they offered one less model (maybe only one chromatic). The earliest I could see them on sale was in December of 1924, just after D Davis & Co had their Trademark accepted. Three models were offered by E Paskins of High Street Maitland. You may remember an earlier discovery of The Rattler which D Davis & Co’s Sydney & Brisbane branches marketed as their own in 1906.

Left: D Davis & Co True Tone Trademark application . Right: The P C Spouse World’s Fame Mouth Organ sold by Mick Simmons and below the F A Bohm Trademark.

As per usual, I contacted the guru Pat Missin just for assurance on the manufacturer as the Steamship was slightly different to the usual F A Bohm trademark. Two steam funnels! Well did he throw a spanner in the works. He found the same trademark filed by Nicholson’s on the 19th March 1924. Please explain? The True Tone model pictured is very similar in both shape and design to F A Bohm’s World’s Fame P C Spouse signature model available from Mick Simmons. Here’s Pat’s take on the True Tone steamship. “I can’t help but wonder if it’s deliberate, as in they really wanted it to look like a Bohm at first glance. Really, they just changed the jib and added a second smokestack, maybe enough that Bohm couldn’t sue?” It also appears the slogan Finest Quality was ditched for The World’s Best Mouth Organ.

A closer look.

David Davis Klippel came to Australia as a sixteen year old from Galicia (a region that used to cover what is now south eastern Poland and western Ukraine). He started a small music business in Elizabeth Street Sydney selling sheet music and with his wife Theresa, who he married in 1899, helped build the business into a large enterprise. In 1921, David travelled to America and obtained the rights to producing records in Australia for the Brunswick Record Company. Three years later he established the first record manufacturing plant in Australia. David died in 1929 aged sixty two.

David’s sons Herbert – Bert (left) & Jacob – Jack.

His estate of £150,000 was contested by his sons as they were left with what they regarded as a pittance – both being paid £10 a week with a further inheritance to be provided later. Their aggravation was heightened as up to £100,000 was being divided between Sydney University and various hospitals. Sadly, this would all be played out in the newspapers with everyone represented poorly.

My single Locomotive Weave is out now on the best streaming and download platform, Bandcamp. This little train ‘track’ had its origins as a warm up/sound check piece that sat in my back pocket for some time. Thanks and appreciation go to that most excellent Sound Engineer David Miller of Fret Wire Studio. Not only for his great skills on the recording desk, but also his encouragement and cajoling after I had shelved the idea of recording. I hope you like it enough to purchase the download. I would be most chuffed. Tell your harmonica friends. Could be huge in Biddleonia. There’s people out there turning music into fun.

Pat Missin’s done it again. He’s found the maker of A P Sykes of Melbourne’s mouth organs the Bess O’Th’ Barn and the Rozella.

It was the one and only Otto Weidlich of Brunndobra (now Klingenthal) of Germany. We had already identified Otto as the manufacturer of the Magpie mouth organ brand for Macrow’s of Melbourne. I wonder if he was responsible for Mick Simmons Perla. Amendments have been made to both Aussie Models Timelines. More to come next month.

I put it out there if anyone had a Hohner Holly Harmonica in December’s blog. Blow me down with a harmonica! Ken VanEtten, collector and musician from the Southern finger lakes of New York State, posted one online. He did a photoshop depiction as the metal on his cover plates was a wee bit banged-up and, although not having a box, he did have a scan.

Hey look what my son picked up op shoppin’ the other day for a dollar! I’ve been on the lookout for this vinyl since researching Des’ history. Thanks man. If you haven’t caught up with his amazing life (not my son, Lachie – Des) check out Des’ Sketch.

Canadian collector and Riff Raffer Doug Dawson has acquired this fantastic wooden travelling case of The Harmonicaires. Not the Aussie Harmonicaires, but the Canadian trio of Doug Pell, Bill Wright and Bob Schrader. Doug located this beauty from a family in Toronto, who were unaware of its history.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy of the first of the New Year here tis Ryberg’s Ride. This year on the first of each month we have a short snort (organ) of a tale. This month’s feature was on Wirth’s circus 🦧 Harold, who played the harmonica. Next month highlights the tune Mermaid by Albatross and is written in memory of JB.

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