I once read an article with a interesting tidbit that observed that when the popularity of the guitar supplanted the banjo in the 1930's some manufacturers made banjos with guitar shaped pegheads apparently to make the banjo look more guitar-like to attract the eye of potential customers. I know that Gibson did (attached TB 12 thanks Greg Earnest) and Kay did (attached). Can you think of any other ca 1930 makers who disguised their banjo pegheads to look like guitars?
I think that guitar shapes were probably used not so much as a nod to the guitar's popularity, but because they were simpler to cut and would cost less than the fancifully inlaid and tightly curved pegheads that had been used previously for banjos. Some of the design changes also probably had to do with styling cues of the period. The thirties were the beginning of streamlining most everything, and banjos would have been subject to that same streamlined craze.
Some of the design changes also probably had to do with styling cues of the period. The thirties were the beginning of streamlining most everything, and banjos would have been subject to that same streamlined craze.
Oops. When I mentioned art deco, I was just repeating exactly what you said, making my post unnecessary.
BUT -- it turns out that the design I like a lot that I think of as Art Deco is from the late Art Deco period and known as Streamline Moderne. So good for you in getting the streamline concept.
I have one with a really guitar-shaped peghead. I don't know how old it is, but my father had it given to him in the Outer Hebrides (Scotland) in the mid-1950s. At that time it was already covered in crud; one peg was missing, as was the tailpiece, and there were no bridge or strings. The remaining friction pegs had Bakelite knobs. Over the decades, Dad and I have renovated it bit by bit, and now it's a very useful nylon-strung classic banjo. See pic. If anyone has any idea of its age or provenance, I'd love to hear from you!