Carl Unthan, the Armless Fiddler

There are many self-taught musicians, but Carl Herman Unthan [wiki] was a fiddler unlike no other: he was born without arms, and played the violin using his feet!

It was his father who pushed young Carl to use his feet as one would use hands. Before long, the boy was able to grasp objects and write legibly. In his early 20’s, Unthan began to learn the violin and quickly became very adept at playing the instrument with his feet. In addition to touring the globe, he was also invited to play before Strauss in Vienna.

Early in his career as a vaudevillian performer his performance was similar to other limbless marvels. Often he would perform various mundane tasks like shuffling cards and smoking cigarettes and he made these tasks amazing by using only his feet. However, Unthan’s ability with music soon took president and he was recognized more as a legitimate musician than odd exhibit.

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