Rowe Industries

Posted on: 4th December 2006


Thank you so much for your message. As soon as I received it I contacted The Guitar Guru, Paul Day, (the Fender Book, the Burns Book, the Ultimate Guitar Book etc etc) for his opinion and I can do no better than reproduce his reply here:-

“Rowe Industries never made guitars, but produced De Armond pickups, as fitted to many US instruments. If you unscrew the pickup you will find Rowe Industries stamped on the underside, along with a date of manufacture. De Armonds were of course fitted to Harmony guitars and your six-string is indeed from this Chicago maker.

It’s actually an H14 model, from the company’s Silhouette series, no relation to Music Man of course and quite a few years earlier! It came in a shaded walnut finish, so yours has had a respray, hence the absence of the Harmony logo on the headstock. This was the cheapest example in the line and was also offered with a vibrato (the H14V), along with three other Silhouettes, the H15/H15V, H17 and H19.

This obviously Fender-influenced series is advertised as new in the 1965 Harmony catalogue, appearing alongside the Les Paul-like Stratotone range. This was the last appearance of the latter, so the Silhouettes were obviously intended as successors, reflecting a general swing from Gibson to Fender styling around that time.

In the 1969 catalogue, the Silhouette title is dropped in favour of new model names. The H14/H14V and H15/H15V become Bob Kats (note spelling and spacing!), now joined by the H16 Colour Kat, while the H17 and H19 are dropped.

By 1973 this solid six-string line comprises the H616, H617 and H618, all with twin pickups and vibratos. In 1974 the H19 makes a surprise return, revamped to become the H619, and this was just about the last gasp from the US Harmony company, before it finally succumbed to ever-increasing competition from the Far East. Sorry to go on so, but I thought I’d provide the complete chronology of this particular solid shape. You know me, why say one word when a 1000 will do!

Dependent on the date stamped on that pickup, yours could be an H14 Silhouette (1965-68) or Bob Kat (1969-??). You mention an exact date of Feb 15th 1965, which sounds like someone has taken it from the pickup, so yours IS an H14 Silhouette, from the first year of issue and retailing back then for $64.95. Welcome to the Silhouette Owners Club!”

So that settles the matter – it is a Harmony Silhouette H14 and, as you say, that DeArmond pick-up it has a great, great sound. The guitar feels good and has a nice action too!

Regards and thanks for your help !