1928 to present
Anastasios Stathopolou made instruments in Greece then Turkey in the late 19th century and moved to New York in 1903 to escape persecution. His sons carried on the business following his death in 1915 and using the House of Stathopolou brand from 1917. They incorporated in 1923 focussing in banjos and introduced the Epiphone Recording Series banjo in 1924 (named after one of the sons Epaminondas or Epi for short).
1928 the company name was changed to Epiphone Banjo Corporation.
1930s production switched to guitars and some also made under Sorrentino and Howard brands.
1935 name changed to Epiphone Inc.
After Epi’s death in 1943 CG Conn Company at some stage gained control over distribution and in 1953 moved some production to Philadelphia (labels still said New York).
1955 Another brother Orphie regained control.
1957 Chicago Musical Instrument Co (CMI) bought Epiphone and production was moved to Kalamazoo near the Gibson factory (also owned by CMI). In 1960 production moved to the new Gibson factory and continued in USA until the companies were sold to ECL (Norlin) in1970 when all Epiphone production was moved to Japan and 1979 Korea.
Limited USA production only since then. [Source: Gruhn’s Guide To Vintage Guitars ]
Dating Epiphone guitars
TRY THIS FIRST http://www.guitardaterproject.org/epiphone.aspx
Image courtesy of M Tandy:
Epiphone reference books
Epiphone guitar catalogs
1928-1954 Vintage Epiphone catalogs
2011-2012 Epiphone catalog [Zip file]
Epiphone guitar advertisements
Ebay images: Image 1951 Epiphone archtop, 1970s acoustic.