Originally from Olmutz, Austria, Franz Schwarzer (1828 - 1904) studied architecture and wood working at the Polytechnic Institute of Vienna. After immigrating to the US in 1866, he would occasionally fabricate zithers at the request of friends and eventually shifted to making instruments a full-time profession. His hard work and craftsmanship was recognized at the Vienna Exposition in 1873. For this fair, he entered three of his zithers and was awarded the “Gold Medal of Progress,” the highest award of the fair, for his entry.
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