The Hill bow


In 1892 Alfred Hill, of the London violin-making firm W.E. Hill & Sons, got into an argument about Irish Home Rule with one of his employees. The argument escalated until the employee became enraged and walked out.

This confrontation had considerable consequences; the employee was the firm’s only bow maker.

At a loss, Hill took two men from the case-making department and told them to start making bows. William Retford, ca. 1902Neither William Napier nor William Retford (inset) had any experience as bow makers—but they went on to revolutionize the art of bow making, developing the fine and reliably consistent product that the violin world now knows as the Hill bow.

This according to “Industry meets art: The history of the iconic Hill bow” by Philip J. Kass (Strings XXV/4:187 [November 2010] pp. 61–64).

Related article: The Wonder violin

3 Comments

Filed under Instruments

3 responses to “The Hill bow

  1. Here’s an illustration further to educate your readership! http://www.netinstruments.com/pics/32280.jpg courtesy of netinstruments.com

  2. Pingback: The Wonder violin | Bibliolore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s