New York Times, June 9, 1979


When writing these articles, I've had many occasions to pore over Anne and Richard Evers' useful little book about Hicksville. The lead-in image to the Song in Our Heart section (shown below), which the authors note is an "old-time advertisement" for Hohner harmonicas, led me to believe that The Hohner Company, Inc. (as the book calls it) had been part of old-time Hicksville, and that it had manufactured harmonicas there. Yet, as I repeatedly researched the village's "old-time" years, I never once stumbled across any local mention of Hohner or its harmonicas. This month, I finally decided to look into things.

Foolish me; I was misled. I assumed that the 1930-ish advertisement below coincided with the era in which Hohner was in Hicksville. It did not. It turns out that in the 1930s, Hohner's American operation was where it had been since the nineteenth century - in New York City.

Beginning in 1924, the American branch of Hohner used portraits of William Haussler, Jr., young son of a company Vice-President, in its advertising. As he grew older, new portraits replaced the old ones. A review of those portraits suggests that this image of the growing Haussler Jr. was painted around the year 1930. Perhaps the authors came across it because it was recycled in 1975 for the cover of a well-known harmonica dealer's price guide. Hohner actually did not relocate its U.S.headquarters from the City to Hicksville until 1958, when the Haussler lad was more than twice the age he appears above.

Incidentally, with the exception of two special harmonica models produced around 1980, M. Hohner, Inc. - the actual name of Hohner's American company - never manufactured harmonicas in its facilities on Hicksville's Andrews Road, although it did repair them there.


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