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I'm really into the earliest instruments of the Gibson Co. and I have looked at this photo many times.  It has been noted here in iconography section that this is a photo of the 1903 catalog (Gibson's first) Style U model.  I believe this is the only photo of one and an example has never actually turned up in person with these exact features from that first showing of Gibson instruments.

So, the idea popped into my head, how do we know that it is actually that?  Is this one of the earliest instruments from the Gibson Co. or perhaps it is possible that this instrument is not from the company at all but one of the handmade pieces from Orville Gibson prior to a partnership that made his name and designs so famous.  If fact, it could probably be said that all the instruments featured in that first catalog were very likely made by Orville himself considering how soon after the company formed that it came out and how long the turn around to produce something like that would take.

Do we know who this gentleman is holding this early harp guitar? Here is an interesting blog post about Orville Gibson's original built harp guitars and one of his patrons of the day.  Could this be the same person in this photo?  The photo provided on the Orville Blog dates it to 1913 and if the photo above does show an Orville instrument in it's day that would date it to about the 1890's.  The aging of the human subject seems consistent with those dates.  Any thoughts?  I will alert the author of the Orville Blog to this post and maybe she will have some insight.



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