James (Edwin) Dyer. Violin and viola maker, b Norfolk County, Ont, ca 1897, d Toronto? ca 1960. His interest in violins began at about 12 on receipt of an old and stringless instrument from a neighbour. It was while studying telegraphy in Toronto ca 1915 that Dyer first attempted to build a violin, using as a guide Edward Heron-Allen's Violin Making As It Was and Is (London 1884). Except for a year in the 1920s in the employ of the George Heinl Co, where he broadened his skills, Dyer worked at Toronto's Union (railway) Station until retirement in the 1950s, building instruments only as a hobby. He completed about 30 violins and violas, and his work is said to have been well regarded by such performers as Jascha Heifetz, Sascha Jacobsen, and Adolph Koldofsky. Dyer instruments have been owned by Arthur LeBlanc, Stephen Kondaks, D'Arcy Shea, and Sigmund Steinberg.