C.F. Martin & Co.
Backstory and Context
Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., a cabinet maker from Markneukirchen, Germany, traveled to Vienna to be an apprentice to Johann Staffer, a guitar maker. When he moved back to his hometown, a hefty dispute arose between the Cabinet Makers Guild and the Violin Makers Guild. When Martin grew tired of his limited opportunities to practice his craft, he and his family immigrated to New York City in September of 1833. Martin set up shop at 196 Hudson Street on the Lower West Side. Martin’s business partner, Henry Schatz, disliked the scenery of New York so much, that he purchased a 55-acre parcel of land near the town of Nazareth in 1836. When the Martin family discovered that the rolling hills resembled their beloved homeland, they made the move to Nazareth and purchased an 8-acre tract on the outskirts of the town.
With the years leading up to the Great Depression, guitars sales were the best they had ever been. But when the year 1929 rolled around, the company went from an idea of increasing sales, to just trying to survive. With sales having plummeted, the workers had to stay busy somehow. They began to experiment in new designs in an effort to raise the public’s interest. In that experimenting, the “dreadnought” guitar and the 14-fret neck were created and has had a lasting impact on the company.
In 1986, C.F. Martin IV became the CEO and Chairman of the company. Sales and production began to surge. The factory was then expanded to accommodate the demand in product. Chris made an investment in creating the Martin museum and Visitors Center, proving to be a place for tourists and music lovers.
The influence that the C.F. Martin & Co. has been a well regarded standard in the craftsmanship of making guitars. Throughout the years, artists have chose to use Martin guitars for their quality and reliable sound. Artists like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton and many more. Through every genre of music, Martin guitars will forever be a name that is recognized with excellence.