Below are numerous detail photos and a list of identifying features.
Above photo: The Gibson L1 standing with its original hard case. Date of mfr: circa 1916- 1917. The style is in the Spanish tradition which Gibson followed in several of its models during this era.
The archtop configuration was a Gibson invention.
It has a round sound hole with 2-rope decorative wood inlay pattern. Ebony fingerboard. Strings are anchored by what is called a "trapeze"
Note missing ebony peg string anchors. The two missing pegs had actually worn out and were no longer functional. An instrument repair technician strung the guitar as is seen in this photo. This I have come to understand is an entirely acceptable work-around. The other solution would be to find replacement ebony pegs. These may be available today, but at that time (1969) they were not. In any case, the guitar plays just as well in this configuration.
FON = Factory Order Number. Location: neck block inside body. number: 3585 This number is useful to determine approximate date of mfr. According to one source it was made circa 1905 - 1906, or perhaps to 1908.
Above photo shows early white ID label type.
It says : Gibson : Guitar --- Style: L-1 (the type, style and number were hand written in pencil)
Number: 38259 It is difficult to get a clear photo showing the pencil lettering.
I used the 'replace color' function within photoshop to make the ID label easier to read.. Here the handwritten pencil stands out with greater contrast against its background. The handwriting for the style designation is not legible or recognizeable
Photo evidence suggests that there had been a 'floating pick guard" clamped to the guitar, but has been removed. See catalog page description for the L-1 below.
My Dad's Gibson. As an adolescent he studied guitar. This guitar was bought second hand from an unknown individual circa mid 1930s. The era of the Great Depression.
Hard case detail photos:
The original leather handle failed due to age and use. I fashioned a replacement out of multiple strands of hemp twine. It seems entirely serviceable this way.
comments/inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org