This photo of Orville’s work bench was taken by professional photographer Henry G. Dornbush in 1900 and appeared in the Aug/Sep 1937 issue of Gibson’s in-house magazine “Mastertone” along with a written article. It also appeared in Julius Bellson’s 1973 book, “The Story of Gibson.” It was taken at Orville’s studio at 104 East Main Street.
Henry was the forth of five sons born to Geert Doorenbos. The family emigrated to the United States from The Netherlands in 1881 when Henry was about two years old. In 1894, at the age of 15, Henry apprenticed at the photographic studio of Frank P. Ford at 119 South Burdick. By 1896, Orville had moved into a studio across the street. This is probably when and where Henry met him.
Orville had been advertising instrument repair since at least 1897. The photo shows two instruments on the far right, one small guitar and one mandolin/banjo, that he must have been repairing for customers.
Also, note the violin rib garland hanging on the rack at the center of the photo and the lyre pattern hanging on the wall above. Evidently, Orville had been making violins and lyre-mandolins by 1900.
The photo also shows a collection of hand saws and metal C-clamps hanging on the rack. A large case of awls and chisels leans against the wall. The F-style mandolin on the left sits on top of a small wooden case. And a pitcher and small glass bottle sit on the table at the far right.
The photo also shows what appears to be a guitar case laying below the guitar on the left.
In all, this photo shows four A style mandolins (one is on a stand just inside the left edge of the photo), three F style mandolins, two guitars, one violin rib garland, one lyre pattern, and two non-Gibson repairs. All this production at one moment in time in 1900. Thank you, Henry Dornbush.
2 thoughts on “The Workbench Photo”
Will the book be published soon?
It might be several weeks yet because I’ve recently changed publishers. I’m now working with the University of Tennessee Press at Knoxville. Unfortunately, it meant starting over, but I’m very happy with their direction. In general, they like the book, but want quite a bit more documentation. It’s not difficult, just time consuming.
They also want a bit more explanation on several topics. Also, not difficult, it just requires a bit of rewriting to incorporate the new information.
From what I understand, once the editing is complete it takes two weeks to actually print the book.