Dating orpheum banjos
Maple was selected for its superior bending qualities compared to other woods in it’s weight/mass class (cherry, oak, etc.) at approx 35-40 pounds per cubic foot.Depending on the model, there were either of three or four plies: three plies of 1/4″ maple to make up a 3/4″ rim machined down for one-piece flange models, and four plies of 1/4″ rim to make up the heavy rim used for tube-and-plate models. Stewart "Champion" 5-string custom-made banjo, S/N 15747, Circa 1894 S. Stewart 5-string banjo-banjeaurine, S/N 18403, Circa 1896 S. Stewart 5-string "Solo Banjeaurine", S/N 18837, Circa 1896 S. Stewart 5-string "Cello" banjo, S/N 62758, Circa 1898 S. Stewart "20th Century" 5-string banjo, S/N 63505, Circa 1900 S. Stewart "Special" 5-string banjo, S/N 69404, Circa 1900 S. Stewart Acme Professional-University Glee 5-string banjo, Circa 1900 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 Unmarked bass banjo Circa 1890 Wurlitzer mandolin, Circa 1915 Gibson K-1 mandocello, Circa 1916 Weymann Mandolute, No.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 1840s to the 1920s. 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. When traders brought African slaves to America, the slaves brought their own music—and musical instruments—with them. With a body made from a gourd, the banjo was first reported in 1620 by the captain of a ship on the Gambia River.Structurally, the banjo is very similar to a drum, with an animal skin stretched over a rim.
For detailed descriptions of banjo models, see Gibson Banjo Models Rims: Except for the very first Gibson banjos, all of the rims for this period have been made of steamed, rolled, and laminated maple.
This interesting large-rim 1910's banjo was sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. The rim plating is moderately worn with some corroded spots to the sides and some of the hooks show rust spots but much of it is substantially intact.
and is most likely the produce of New York's Rettberg & Lange organization, famous for the Orpheum and Paramount brands. All hardware appears original except the fifth string peg is newer; the friction tuners are original and the tailpiece is a nice original No-Knot.
In January, 2018 John Mc Donald in Ohio contacted me to suggest the Internet Archive Wayback Machine as a source, where he had found one of the pages. This allows the visitor to view a page without moving off the catalog page.
I took his advice and collected the catalog page images that were originally linked here, then removed Paul's list. Second, I plan to add material here as I come across more catalogs.