The Stroh Violin was designed in 1899 by the Austrian John Matthias Augustus
Stroh, and was manufactured in London by his son Charles in 1901. In the early
part of this century, you could order them in stores in Vienna. The Stroh violin
was used in the recording industry from the late 19th century to the start of
electronic amplification due to the fact that standard violins were not powerful
enough to record on the wax cylinders used in the early days of recording.
Vibrations from the strings are passed to the center of an aluminum disc acting
as a diaphragm which amplifies the sound, producing an effect similar to that of
a conventional fiddle only louder and with a slight phonographic overtone. The
Stroh Violin was also widely used in early phonographic recording and is still
used in certain folk styles today. The brass cone is slightly darker in tone
than the aluminum.