Christian Frederick Martin

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For other people named Christian Martin, see Christian Martin (disambiguation).
Christian Frederick Martin
Christian Frederick Martin.jpg
Born Christian Frederick Martin, Sr.
(1796-01-31)January 31, 1796
Markneukirchen, Germany
Died February 16, 1873(1873-02-16) (aged 77)
Nazareth, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Inventor

Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. (German: Christian Friedrich Martin I.; January 31, 1796 – February 16, 1873) was a German-born American luthier who specialized in guitars. He made the first guitar in the United States in the 1830s.

Early Life and career[edit]

Born in Markneukirchen, Germany to a family of cabinet makers, Martin became an apprentice of the guitar maker Johann Georg Stauffer of Vienna, Austria.[1] Martin also became a foreman at Stauffer's workshop.[2][3][4]

As a result of a dispute between the Cabinet Makers Guild, of which Martin was a member, and the Violin Makers Guild, Martin moved to the United States in 1833. On arriving in New York City, he set up shop at 196 Hudson Street on the Lower West Side. Martin’s first workshop housed a small production setup in the back room, and a retail music store up front. This shop was the forerunner of C. F. Martin & Company, which is still family-owned and operated, whose current CEO is CF Martin's great-great-great grandson, CF Martin IV as of 2014.

At the insistence of his wife, Ottilie Lucia Kühler (daughter of the Maschinentischler [machine carpenter] Karl Kühler of Vienna[5]), Martin moved the guitar shop in 1838 to Nazareth, Pennsylvania where it is still located.[6]

Martin's guitar construction and design innovations produced a model of flattop guitar that is still in use today.[7]


  1. ^ C.F Martin & Company. "Our Story – Chapter 1: The C.F. Martin Story". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  2. ^ C.F Martin & Company. "Our Story – Chapter 2: Fleeing Restrictive Guilds". Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  3. ^ Bonds, Ray (ed.) (2006). “The illustrated directory of guitars.” Barnes & Noble/Salamander Books, p. 75.
  4. ^ Wheeler, Tom (1992). American guitars: an illustrated history.” Harper & Row. p. 248.
  5. ^ Martin's 1825 marriage entry, Vienna.
  6. ^ "Special, Music, Industry, History – Martin Guitar Company". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  7. ^ "C.F. Martin, Sr.". Retrieved 2007-10-10. 

External links[edit]