First electric cigar box guitar ever?

Let me introduce to You Mr. Leopold Fijałkowski from Kielce, POLAND. Ingenious inventor of cosmic items like suspenders shock absorbers, bike on suspension, canned food actually made in bottle without the neck, eternal flytrap made with wire and sticky liquid. In 1906, in Kielce (south-east of Poland) Mr. Leopold engineered the first in Poland cigar box guitar made of wooden box and neck taken off of the Russian 7-string guitar.

Based on information provided by Mr. Leopold’s heirs, the instrument was electric from the beginning. But this is a risky thesis. In 1906 electricity was widely used for lighting but not for the acoustic purposes. The same year, in New York, the first loudspeaker was invented, but it’s unlikely that this technology was known in Kielce, Poland. Probably Radio inspired Mr. Leopold to build his electric instrument few years later.

Due to witnesses and local Kielce’s press, Mr. Leopold performed with his instrument which was described as “organ sound”. Hence we can presume that the instrument had installed sound modulator that is the first electric guitar effect unit ever. Unfortunately even though the instrument is still exists in collection of Kielce’s History Museum, there are no attempts to play the instrument and record the sound. It is because the bridge is missing. I suppose that the bridge was a stick protruding from the pickup gathering the strings vibrations as in an gramophone.

On the picture: complete instrument. Guitar is installed to the stand which also plays to role of the base for the pedal effect unit.

The first electric pickup in Poland up close. I would risk to say: the first in the world.

Control pedal

Mr. Leopold and his gear (1920 - 1930)

All pictures are from Kielce’s History Museum collection and are Its property. All rights reserved. Any copying, sharing, public use prohibited.


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Comment by Joe Nadenicek on March 9, 2019 at 2:05pm
Holy Mackerel - it's the Bodineaphone - cut the juice - turn me loose!!! Just kidding - very cool build.
Comment by Joe Caruso on March 7, 2019 at 11:33am

Wow! Thanks for sharing, knowledge of its existence now expanded to a broader audience. 

Comment by Luis Andres Indaburu on September 6, 2016 at 7:17pm

That guitar just begs to be made at home with some patience and lots of weird Looks from the wife.

Comment by J.Rob on September 6, 2016 at 11:52am

Innovative so cool!
Thank YOU for sharing history with us!!!

Comment by Glenn Kaiser on September 5, 2016 at 2:31pm

THIS is simply INCREDIBLE! Many thanks for posting. Just amazing bit of history here. And sho nuff wish we could hear it Paul! -Glenn

Comment by Dave Lynas on November 15, 2014 at 7:26am

That's a spicy meatball, Phrygian.....

Comment by The Phrygian Kid on November 15, 2014 at 6:22am
Comment by Dave Lynas on November 14, 2014 at 4:06pm

I like the floating sound board. It really adds to the wizardry aspect. Cool to the max.....

Comment by Marvin walker on November 14, 2014 at 7:19am

That's funny... Made me smile! But not as funny as this...

Comment by Paul Gatenby on November 14, 2014 at 4:24am

Amazing, wouldn't you just love to hear it?

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