1934 Epiphone-made "Howard"
Unlike archrival Gibson, Epiphone never produced guitars under other brand names; apart from a short phase in the 1930s when Sorrentino and Howard labeled guitars appeared. The Sorrentino's are somewhat more common but an Epiphone made guitar with Howard on its headstock is beyond rare. This instrument is well-known amongst vintage enthousiasts as it is depicted on p.187 of the Gruhn/Carter book "Acoustic Guitars"; still it is one of only two Howard guitars I have ever seen.
The Epiphone book mentions it is unknown who was the owner or distributor of Howard. However, based on the advertisements below 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. Also shown is a Howard Guitar pick from 1926, with the Wurlitzer logo on it. Amongst guitar pick collectors (which I am not) it is believed to be the first pick ever with print on it - pretty remarkable detail for early printing too.
Back to the guitar itself; inside the body it bears a standard Epiphone serial number for 1934 (7388). And although cosmetics might diverge from the Epiphone line up, this by no way is a budget instrument. In quality this example lies in between a DeLuxe and Broadway with beautiful flamed woods, gold hardware, and an ebony board. It is a lovely 16" barker with a great feeling neck and a punchy projection. This guitar is no longer mine but now resides in an important collection amongst a couple dozen of the finest Epiphones; afterall its siblings.
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