There are many ways to find out the age of your family artifacts. Photographs and documents are often dated, many have name references too.
Objects are a little different. On occasion you might be aware who had owned an item, and possibly where they got it from. Sometimes items have a date on them, such as this souvenir spoon from the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, the “Expo ’76” World Fair, held in Montreal.
A stamped, or printed mark on the object by the maker can help you research the age of an item. You can discover how long was the maker’s business was in operation, and possibly view catalogues to identify the specific design.
The internet can lead you to lists of companies and dates, for lots of types of objects – ceramics, metal, wooden, glass.
Hallmarks on gold and silver are particularly interesting. If an item was British-made, a precise date can be discovered including the maker and the place.
This Echo-Luxe harmonica was made by M. Hohner, Germany. It was in my brother’s china cabinet for many years. Now it has come into my possession. The only thing I knew about it, was that it had belonged to my father – Peter Colin George (1926-2008).
Research tells me that Matth. Hohner AG is the oldest and largest producer of harmonicas in the world. Based in Trossingen, Baden-Württemberg the company was founded in 1857 by Matthias Hohner (1833-1902). In the 1920s the chromatic harmonica was introduced and production of harmonicas hit 20 million.
So, how to pin down the date of this very popular, well-used harmonica which is still in its original box?
Look a little closer……
Within the box lid, handwritten in a pencil …. “Form 2B, P. George”. This identifies the harmonica as pre-WWII, circa 1938. It was used by my father while attending senior school – Portsmouth Grammar for Boys (founded in 1732)!