Welcome to

 

Bill’s Banjos

 

         

This website is dedicated to photos and descriptions of the many banjos in my collection, along with a few other vintage instruments I have picked up over the years.  I have authored this site in the hope that other collectors might follow suit and share photos and information on their banjos with others in the collecting community.  Since my interest in banjos stems in part from my interest in the technological development of the instrument over the years, my collection spans the period from the 1840’s to the 1920’s.  As my collection evolves, banjos presented on the home page of this site may be removed and added to a "banjos I previously owned" page.  Banjos in my current collection are listed alphabetically by manufacturer or brand name.  I have recently added a page on Fairbanks/Vega engraved inlay evolution for those interested in how this particular art form developed over the years and through the transition from Fairbanks to Vega ownership. For those interested in the genealogy of banjo manufacturers, I have included a page summarizing some important relationships between manufacturers, but much better information is available elsewhere (see, for example, America's Instrument, The Banjo in the Nineteenth Century, by Gura anad Bollman, University of North Carolina Press, 1999).  For those interested in finding out more about buying vintage banjos and other vintage stringed instruments, I have included a page on that as well.  I have also included a page on identifying unmarked banjos, for those who have an instrument of unknown origin.  For those wondering where I put all of these instruments, I have added a page on living with vintage instruments.  This should be particularly helpful to those collectors trying to convince dubious spouses that they don't already have too many banjos.  Finally, I have added a page dealing with maintaining and restoring vintage banjos and other vintage stringed instruments.  Also, click here for an example of how one can go too far to restore a banjo. For questions and comments, please contact me (Bill Destler) at bill.destler"at"rit.edu.(substitute @ for "at").

 

 

Banjos

       Bacon

            Bacon "Professional FF" (chubby dragon) 5-string banjo, S/N 99, Circa 1906

            Bacon "Professional FF Special" 5-string banjo, Circa 1913

Bacon "Professional FF Special Grand Concert", 5-string banjo, Circa 1913

Boucher

            W.E. Boucher, Jr. fretless 5-string banjo, XXII, Circa 1848

Boyden

            B.E. Boyden "The Boyden" 5-string banjo, Circa 1891

Buckbee

            J. H. Buckbee (Waldorf?) 5-string banjo, Circa 1895 (pearl fingerboard)

Burkard

            W. N. Burkard 5-string pony banjo Circa 1890's

Clifford-Essex

            Clifford Essex “Special XX” 5-string banjo Circa 1915

Cole

            W. A. Cole 5-string banjo, S/N 163, Circa 1890

            W. A. Cole "Eclipse" (Bird) 5-string banjo, S/N 597, Circa 1891

            W. A. Cole "Eclipse" 5-string banjeaurine, S/N 2541, Circa 1895

            W. A. Cole “Eclipse” 5-string banjo model 2500, S/N 3197, Circa 1896

            W. A. Cole 5-string ladies' banjo, model 1500, S/N 3425, Circa 1896

            W. A. Cole “Eclipse” 5-string banjo model 5000, S/N 3600, Circa 1897

            W. A. Cole “Eclipse” 5-string banjo, model 3000, S/N 3670, Circa 1897

            W. A. Cole “Eclipse” 5-string banjo model 4000, S/N 3959, Circa 1897

            W. A. Cole 5-string banjo, S/N 4183, model 2000, Circa 1898

            W. A. Cole "Eclipse" 5-string banjo, S/N 5333, model 3500, Circa 1900

            W. A. Cole banjo-mandolin, S/N 6604, Circa 1904

Cubley

            E. J. Cubley 5-string fretless banjo, Circa 1880

C. E. Dobson

            C. E. Dobson "Great Echo" 5-string banjo, S/N 255, Circa 1888

E. C. Dobson

            E. C. Dobson "Chimes-Orchestra" 5-string banjo, Circa 1890

G. C. Dobson

            George C. Dobson "Victor-Concert" 5-string banjo, Circa 1880's

            George C. Dobson "Victor-Regal" 5-string banjo, Circa 1880's

H. C. Dobson

            H.C. Dobson fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1867

            H.C. Dobson fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1878

            H.C. Dobson “Silver Bell Patent” 5-string pony banjo, S/N 7598, Circa 1883

Eibel (click here for new information on Eibel banjos!)

A. F. Eibel (Reading, MA) 5-string banjo Circa 1889

A. F. Eibel (Malden, MA) 5-string banjo Circa 1890’s

A. F. Eibel (Malden, MA) 5-string banjo Circa 1890's

A. F. Eibel (Malden, MA) 5-string banjo Circa 1890's

Fairbanks & Cole

            Fairbanks & Cole flush fret 5-string banjo, S/N 1301, Circa 1881

            Fairbanks & Cole guitar-banjo, S/N 1318, Circa 1881

            Fairbanks & Cole "Clipper" 5-string banjo, S/N 1700, Circa 1881

            Fairbanks & Cole 5-string banjo, S/N 4022, Circa 1884

            Fairbanks & Cole “Imperial” 5-string banjo S/N 4604, Circa 1884

            Fairbanks & Cole piccolo 5-string banjo, S/N 6870, Circa 1885

            Fairbanks & Cole "Acme" 5-string banjo, S/N 7300, Circa 1887

            Fairbanks & Cole 5-string banjo, S/N 7375, Circa 1887

            Fairbanks & Cole “Imperial” 5-string banjo S/N 7663, Circa 1887

            Fairbanks & Cole "Imperial" 5-string banjo, S/N 8246, Circa 1888

            Fairbanks & Cole "Expert" 5-string banjo S/N 8600, Circa 1888

            Fairbanks & Cole "Imperial" 5-string banjo, S/N 8654, Circa 1888

            Fairbanks & Cole “Imperial” 5-string banjorine, S/N 9543, Circa 1889

Fairbanks

A. C. Fairbanks "Electric" 5-string banjo, S/N 1147, Circa 1891

A. C. Fairbanks "Electric" 5-string banjo, S/N 2011, Circa 1892

A. C. Fairbanks "Curtis Electric" 5-string banjo, S/N 2370, Circa 1892

A. C. Fairbanks "Electric" 5-string banjorine, S/N 3693, Circa 1893

A. C. Fairbanks 5-string banjo, no S/N, Circa 1894

A.  C. Fairbanks “Electric" No. 1, 5-string banjo, S/N 15670, Circa 1896

A.C. Fairbanks “Electric” No. 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 15712, Circa 1896

A. C. Fairbanks "Columbian" No. 2, 5-string banjo, S/N 16109, Circa 1896

A. C. Fairbanks "Columbian" No. 2, 5-string banjo, S/N 16408, Circa 1896

A.  C. Fairbanks “Special Electric" No. 1, 5-string banjorine, S/N 18573, circa 1899

A. C. Fairbanks “Special Electric No. 5” 5-string banjo, S/N 18869, Circa 1899

A. C. Fairbanks “Senator No. 1” 5-string banjo, S/N 21028, Circa 1901

A.C. Fairbanks “Whyte Laydie” No. 7, 5-string banjo, S/N 22616, Circa 1903

A.  C. Fairbanks “Whyte Laydie" No. 2, 5-string cello banjo, S/N 22924, Circa 1903

A.  C. Fairbanks “Imperial Electric" No. 0, 5-string banjo, S/N 23078, Circa 1904

Fairbanks (by Vega)

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) "Electric" 5-string banjo, S/N 24549, Circa 1908

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) “Regent” 5-string banjo, S/N 25121, Circa 1909

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) "Tubaphone" #9, 5-string banjo, S/N 25516, Circa 1909

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) "Senator" No. 1, 5-string banjorine, S/N 25917, Circa 1909

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) "Tubaphone" #3, 5-string banjo, S/N 26126, Circa 1910

            A.C. Fairbanks (by Vega) "Tubaphone" #9, 5-string banjo, S/N 27062, Circa 1911

Farland

A. A. Farland “Artist’s Grand" No.2, 5-string banjo Circa 1902

        Farris

                        J. Farris “E&F Tenor Banjay”, Amateur Grade 2-1/2, Circa 1880’s

            Gatcomb

            L. B. Gatcomb “Gatcomb’s Award” model 75, 5-string banjo, S/N 4471, Circa 1890

            L. B. Gatcomb "Gatcomb Standard" model 35, 5-string banjo, S/N 4742, Circa 1890

 Haynes

            John C. Haynes "Bay State" 5-string banjo, model 323, Circa 1890

            John C. Haynes "Bay State" 5-string banjo, model 325, Circa 1890

            John C. Haynes “Bay State” 5-string banjo model 354, Circa 1890

Lyon & Healy (including Washburn banjos)

            Lyon & Healy "Professional" 5-string piccolo banjo model 913, Circa 1892

            Lyon & Healy 5-string ladies' banjo Circa 1892

            "George Washburn" 5-string banjo Circa 1892

            "George Washburn" 5-string banjo, model 421 custom, Circa 1892

            "George Washburn" 5-string ladies banjo, model 421 custom, S/N 390, Circa 1892

            "George Washburn" 5-string banjo, model 442, S/N 328, Circa 1892

            1492-1892 Columbus Quatracentennial 5-string Banjo Circa 1892

            Lyon & Healy "Mystic" piccolo flush-fret 5-string banjo, Circa 1897

            Lyon & Healy “Professional” 5-string banjo, Circa 1897

            "George Washburn" 5-string banjo, S/N1095, Circa 1897

            "George Washburn" (by Cole) 5-string banjo, S/N 6, Circa 1900

            "George Washburn" Improved  model 565, 5-string banjo, S/N 8027, Circa 1915

            "George Washburn" Improved model 5100, 5-string banjo, S/N 8295, Circa 1915

Magez

            J. Magez fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1870's

            J. Magez fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1870's

Morrison

            Jas. Morrison (1882 patent) 5-string banjo, S/N 271, Circa 1880's

 Pollman

            August Pollman mandoline-banjo, Circa 1890

Quinlan

            J.E. Quinlan 5-string banjo, Circa 1890's

Rettberg & Lange (including Orpheum banjos)

            "The Pearl" (likely Rettberg & Lange) 5-string banjo Circa 1908 (pearl fingerboard)

            "Orpheum #2", 5-string banjo, S/N 3876, Circa 1915

            "Orpheum #3", 5 string banjo, S/N 9079, Circa 1915

            "Orpheum #1", 5 string banjo, S/N 10874, Circa 1915

            "Orpheum #3 Special", 5-string banjo, S/N 13406, Circa 1919

 Robinson

            Robinson (by Fairbanks) 5-string banjo, Circa 1900

            Robinson (by Fairbanks), grade 2, 5-string banjo, Circa 1900

J. B. Schall

            J.B. Schall (unmarked) fretless 5-string banjo Circa 1880

            J.B. Schall 5-string banjo Circa 1895

            J.B. Schall 5-string banjo Circa 1895

            J.B. Schall (Denzel) “Peerless” 5-string banjo Circa 1895

S. S. Stewart       

            S.S. Stewart "Universal Favorite" flush-fret 5-string banjo, S/N2865, Circa 1886

            S.S. Stewart "Orchestra" fretless 5-string banjo, S/N 3321, Circa 1887

            S.S. Stewart "Universal Favorite" No. 2, 5-string banjo, S/N 3593, Circa 1887

            S.S. Stewart "Orchestra" 5-string banjo, S/N 4011, Circa 1888

            S.S. Stewart "Universal Favorite" No. 3, S/N 5522, Circa 1890

            S.S. Stewart “Thoroughbred” 5-string banjo, S/N 6096, Circa 1890

            S.S. Stewart “Little Wonder” piccolo banjo, S/N 6265, Circa 1890

            S.S. Stewart "Pony Concert" banjo, S/N 6670, Circa 1891

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" presentation 5-string banjo, S/N 7501, Circa 1891

            S.S. Stewart "American Princess" custom 5-string banjo, S/N 8819, Circa 1891

            S.S. Stewart custom presentation 5-string banjo, S/N 9217, Circa 1892

            S.S. Stewart “Universal Favorite” No.2, 5-string banjo, S/N 9732, Circa 1892

            S.S. Stewart "Universal Favorite" fretless 5-string banjo, S/N 10035, Circa 1892

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" presentation 5-string banjo, S/N 11246, Circa 1893

            S.S. Stewart "Universal Favorite" No. 4, 5-string banjo, S/N 11973, Circa 1893

            S.S. Stewart "Orchestra" No. 4, 5-string banjo, S/N 13455, Circa 1893

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" presentation 5-string banjo, S/N 14352, Circa 1894

            S.S. Stewart "Imperial Banjeaurine" No. 3, S/N 14576, Circa 1894

            S. S. Stewart “Specialty” No. 4, 5-string banjo, S/N 15236, Circa 1894

            S. S. Stewart "Orchestra" No. 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 15681, Circa 1894

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" 5-string custom-made banjo, S/N 15747, Circa 1894

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" No. 2, 5-string banjo, S/N 16323, Circa 1895

            S.S. Stewart "Special Thoroughbred" No. 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 16098, Circa 1895

            S.S. Stewart "Champion" No. 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 16379, Circa 1895

            S.S. Stewart “American Princess”, No. 2, 5-string banjo, S/N 16544, Circa 1895

            S. S. Stewart “Specialty” 5-string banjo No. 2, S/N 17941, Circa 1895

            S.S. Stewart “Special Thoroughbred” No. 4, 5-string banjo, S/N18366, Circa 1895

            S.S. Stewart 5-string banjo-banjeaurine, S/N 18403, Circa 1896

            S.S. Stewart 5-string "Solo Banjeaurine", S/N 18837, Circa 1896

            S.S. Stewart 5-string "Cello" banjo, S/N 62758, Circa 1898

            S.S. Stewart "20th Century" 5-string banjo, S/N 63505, Circa 1900

            S.S. Stewart "Special" 5-string banjo, S/N 69404, Circa 1900

            S.S. Stewart “Acme Professional-University Glee” 5-string banjo, Circa 1900

Stratton & Handley

            Stratton & Handley (by Cole) 5-string banjo, Circa 1895

            Stratton & Handley (by Cole) 5-string banjeaurine, Circa 1895

Stetson

            Stetson (by Fairbanks) 5-string presentation ladies banjo, S/N 15043, Circa 1895

            Stetson (by Fairbanks) 5-string banjo, Circa 1897

Teel

            G.S.W. Teel fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1880's

Teed

            George Teed 6-string banjo, Circa 1870

Thompson & Odell (including Luscomb banjos)

            Thompson & Odell 5-string banjo, S/N 1930, Circa 1890

            "Luscomb" 5-string banjorette, Circa 1890

            "Luscomb 1893 Patent", grade 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 53, Circa 1893

            "Luscomb 1893 Patent", 5-string banjo, S/N 129, Circa 1895

            "Luscomb 1888 Patent" grade 4, 5-string banjo, S/N 1439, Circa 1895

            "Luscomb 1893 Patent" 5-string banjo, S/N 1638, Circa 1895

            "Luscomb 1888 Patent" grade 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 2781, Circa 1896

            Thompson & Odell “Artist” 5-string banjo, S/N 3782 Circa 1897

Todd

            William A. Todd 5-string banjeaurine, Circa 1891

Turner

            J.M. Turner 5-string banjo, Circa 1890

Upcott

                Upcott fretless piccolo 6-string banjo, Circa 1870's

Weymann

            Weymann 5-string banjo Circa 1900’s

Wilkes

            F.C. Wilkes 5-string banjo, Circa 1900 (pearl fingerboard)

Windsor

            A. O. Windsor 7-string banjo, Circa 1895 (presentation grade)

Unmarked, Minstrel, and Folk-Art Banjos

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1860

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1865

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1867

            Unmarked Teed-style fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1870

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo Circa 1870

            Unmarked flush-fret 5-string banjo Circa 1870's

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo, Circa 1870's

            Unmarked fretless 5-string banjo Circa 1870's

            Unmarked top-tension 5-string banjo Circa 1880

            Tambourine folk-art fretless banjo Circa 1882

            Unmarked bass banjo Circa 1890

        

Other Vintage Instruments

Guitars

            Thornward guitar (almost certainly made by Lyon & Healy/Washburn), Circa 1900

            George Bauer guitar, S/N 334023, Circa 1900

            Unlabeled (but probably Lyon & Healy/Washburn) guitar, Circa 1910

            Gindlesberger harp guitar, Circa 1911

            C. F. Martin guitar, 0-42, S/N 12929, Circa 1916

            S. S. Stewart tenor guitar, Circa 1930

 Mandolins

            Washburn mandolin no.175, S/N 59004, Circa 1897

            Gibson F4 “torch and wire” mandolin, S/N 5713, Circa 1906

            Stahl (made by Larson brothers) Manndolin, Circa 1915

            Wurlitzer mandolin, Circa 1915

            Gibson K-1 mandocello, Circa 1916

            Weymann Mandolute, No. 75, S/N 28962, Circa 1920

            Gibson F4 mandolin, S/N 69266, Circa 1921 

            Unmarked (probably Lyon & Healy mandolin, Circa 1922

            C. F. Martin mandolin B-11313, circa 1923

            C. F. Martin mandolin, E-13218, Circa 1926

Miscellaneous

            Lachenal English concertina, SN 43576, Circa 1890

            Tanzbar player accordian, Circa 1920

            C. F. Martin “style 1” ukulele, Circa 1925

            Rolmonica player harmonica, Circa 1929

            Strohviol violin, Circa 1900

My playing instruments

    `       C.F. Martin “D-28” guitar, S/N 215397,Circa 1966

            Eastman “Whyte Laydie” 5-string banjo, S/N 23001, Circa 2011

            Eastman MD914 mandolin, S/N 5393,Circa 2010

            Eastman MD905D mandolin, S/N 6934,Circa 2011

            Eastman MDA815 mandola, S/N 4701,Circa 2010

 

           

Previously Owned Banjos

 

       

 

Stewart Presentation

Wilkes Pearl Fingerboard

Eibel banjo

Stahl Mandolin

Fairbanks Special Electric No. 5

Haynes "Bay State" banjo