16 1/8" Carl G. Becker viola, Chicago 1925
The celebrated American luthier Carl G. Becker was born in Chicago in 1887. Becker made his first violin at the age of fourteen and would go on to have a career spanning seven decades. His interest in violin making was nurtured by his musical family, including by the legacy of his grandfather, Hermann Macklett, a luthier and furniture maker by trade. In 1902, his nascent career as a violin maker developed under the tutelage of John Hornsteiner at the firm of Lyon and Healy, where he repaired instruments belonging to members of the Chicago Symphony. Becker continued to work as an assistant to Hornsteiner when the latter left Lyon and Healy to start his own firm in 1908. In 1924, Becker joined William Lewis and Son as a master luthier, appraiser, and workshop supervisor. During his time with Lewis and Son, Becker was an extremely prolific maker, crafting more than four hundred violins and over sixty cellos. After several decades with this firm, Becker and his son, Carl F. Becker, began their own firm in Chicago in 1968. The firm of Carl G. Becker and Son continues the Becker family's tradition of violin making today.