C.F. Martin & Company has been in the business of making quality acoustic guitars for over 175 years. Today, the Martin brand is well known around the world for making superior musical instruments with incredible sound as well as longevity. However, it all started with one man from Markneukirchen, Germany, with a passion for music along with a natural talent for fine craftsmanship.
Christian Frederick Martin, born on January 31st, 1796, was descended from a long line of cabinet makers. Little is known about the Martin family's involvement with the construction of guitars prior to C.F. Martin, but it is known that his father, Johann Georg Martin, had also successfully crafted guitars.
At the young age of 15, C.F. Martin took an apprenticeship with well-known Austrian guitar maker, John Stauffer. It wasn't long before Martin's talent was realized and he was named foreman of Stauffer's shop. From that point it was only a matter of time before Martin decided to head back to his hometown to open his very own guitar making shop. However, there were some unanticipated bumps in the road ahead...
Up until this point, most guitar makers in Germany belonged to the Cabinet Makers Guild. However, with the increasing popularity of the guitar, the Violin Makers Guild decided to campaign aggressively to prohibit the Cabinet Makers Guild from being involved with the production of musical instruments. This launched a heated and slanderous debate between both guilds, and C.F. Martin found himself at the center of it. The Cabinet Makers Guild even used C.F. Martin's family history of cabinet making to support their argument that cabinet making is closely related to guitar making.
Fed up with the squabbling guilds and the limited room for growth in such a restrictive market, C.F. Martin decided to relocate. On September 9th, 1933, he packed his bags and headed to the United States of America. The American home of C.F. Martin & Company was born at 196 Hudson Street in New York City.
And so the legendary brand that has produced some of the finest acoustic guitars in the world became another great American success story. Of course, it wasn't all roses after C.F. Martin arrived here in the US of A...For detailed information on how C.F. Martin & Company overcame several adversities and grew into the namesake that they are today, check out the full history here.