|Francois Tourte (Photo: Wikipedia)|
Francois Tourte was a Frenchman that started out making watches but soon changed to bows for classical stringed instruments. He began his career as an apprentice to his father who was also a bow maker.
After his father died he took over the business and in collaboration with virtuoso violinist G.B Viotti began to make important changes in the design of the bow.
The biggest changes he made were to lengthen them slightly, use more wood in the tip and a use a heavier nut. He also invented the idea of having a screw in the nut used to regulate the tension in the hair. His final innovation was the invention of the spreader block. Violinists of that time complained that the hair was tangling when attached in a bunched or roped fashion; the spreader spreads the hair out into a flat ribbon preventing it from tangling.
Tourte's bows were made from pernambuco wood and were noted for their heaviness. He never varnished them and instead rubbed them with pumice powder.
Tourte was noted for his extremely accurate and neat workmanship at the height of his career he could name his price and would destroy any bow that was not absolutely perfect before leaving his workshop.