The Catgut Acoustical Society Library

File #:C7450

Name:Condax, Louis M


See also:

General Information:

A research chemist whose early work was with Frederick Ives who developed the dye transfer process

for color printing. Louis subsequently went with Eastman Kodak and helped them apply the process to

their color film. He was also a skilled violin maker and became deeply involved in researching the early

violin varnishes. He received a grant from the Mellon Foundation and went to Europe to investigate

evidences of the different varnishes used by the seventeenth and eighteenth century makers, particularly

in Northern Italy. The Condax notebooks are in the CAS file and contain a wealth of information which

has been researched by David Fix. Fix indicates that Condax developed many different varnish

formulas, however, Fix has not as yet published his findings (1992). The file includes not only Louis'

notebooks but also correspondance and a copy of his report to the Mellon Foundation. J. Michelman was

highly critical of this work since it challenged Michelman's claim to having discovered the "secret" of the

old Italian varnish. Louis was a long time member of the CAS and published a number of articles in the

CASNL. Condax worked at Rembert Wurlitzer Co. in NYC with S.F. Sacconi on various varnish

problems and treatment of violin wood, particularly the ammonia gas method of seasoning the wood

before varnishing. Louis and his wife Constance often stopped by Montclair for a visit to discuss violin

making and varnishing. When Louis died, Connie gave his files to CMH for the CAS files.

File Contents:


Correspondence: 101 - Various 1958-68; 102 - Constance 1971-80; 103 - CMH 1959-71; 104 -

Sacconi 1946-48; 105 - Vidoudez 1950-70. Miscellaneous: 106 - certificate, hand drawn map, violin

making school prospectus (Syracuse U.), graphs, clippings, etc.; 107 - Varnish recipes; Technical: 108

- Evolution of Violin; 109 - Fry/Michelman; 110 - Unpub. & Inc of Condax; 111 - Manuscript: Report

on varnish; 112 - Manuscrpt: on violin.

Key Words:Varnish | Proposal


Mellon Institute Grant Project on Violin Varnish: 201 & 202 -- Correspondence: (1967-1970) mainly

between Condax, L.H. Larsen and G.O. Luster (both of the Mellon Institute), Fannie Taylor (of the

National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities), Desmond Hill, William Moennig and Henry Werro.

203 -- Miscellaneous: news articles (1967-1969) and attacks by Joseph Michelman. 204 -- Research

reports (6 from 1968-1970) to the Mellon Institute; also report giving instructions for using the varnish.

Key Words:Varnish


Magazine issues: The Strad (5 issues from 1967-1969; 2 extracted articles, 1959 and 1963;

photocopied pages); Violins and Violinists (6 issues from 1940-1953; various pages extracted from

other issues; reprinted article).

Key Words:


Subject files. A-D: 9 folders. Bows - Piere Vidoudez; Mario Bernardi ("Cello Podium"); Dragonetti,

dye transfer, etc.

Key Words:Bows | Cello podium


Subject files. E-R: 14 folders; Fossil wood, Gambas, labels, etc. Franz F. Lyon, Max Moeller, William

Moennig, Jan Hilbert Nordlinger, David Rubinoff.

Key Words:Gambas | Fossil wood


Subject files. S-Z: 13 folders. Simone Sacconi; Felix Savart; Lionel Tertis model viola; fiber glass

bows, etc.

Key Words:Fiber glass bows


Notebooks: on violin varnish experiments - 301 (black with rings) entries from 1937-1959; 302 (black

with red corners) 1944-50; 303 (No.2) 1951-1957; 304 (Record book) 1958-66; 305 (Black/black

corners) 1967-70; 306 (Black/red) 1969-70; 307 (Blue spiral) containing apparently part of lengthy


Key Words:


Condax varnish samples on wood.

Key Words:

Last modified: 27 June 1998