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Epiphone was founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos, who initially built only fiddles and lutes in the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey). In the early 20th century, Stathopoulos and Epiphone made the move to Queens, New York, and expanded into building mandolins and banjos. Finally, in 1928 Epiphone built its first line of guitars, the Recording series. And in 1935, the company branched into the electrified world with the Electar Series (originally the Electraphone).
The Century model was introduced in 1939, and the 1953 model pictured here features a maple body with a sunburst finish, a rosewood fretboard and headstock, a New York neck pickup without adjustable poles, a Bakelite pickguard, a trapeze tailpiece and octagonal volume and tone controls with peaked facets.
It was rumored that the Century was used by Django Reinhardt during his only US tour in 1946 with Duke Ellington, but he actually used the bigger Epiphone Zephyr (also introduced in 1939) while in the States.
A special thanks to PG contributor Jeffrey O’Connor for this exquisite photograph.