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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Wm L Lange Paramount Dating Chart

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

banjotrader - Posted - 12/14/2020:  15:08:29

I've been wanting to tackle this maker's dating charts for some time now.  The existing models produced by Tsumura and one that was previously found at (who also produced several other inaccurate models) are very problematic.

Like all my other models (as of Dec 14 2020), I approach things from a scentific point of view.

1) Vega Fairbanks Banjos:

2) Epiphone Recording Banjos:

3) Clifford Essex Paragon Banjos:

4) IUCCI Banjos:

5) Bacon Banjo (Validated the great work done by Polle Flaunoe)

Producing these models requires:

- Documented launch dates for certain makes/models found in trade magazines, receipts, etc..  (e.g Crescendo, MusicTrades, Music Trades Review, Cadenza, etc.)

- an extensive serial number list

- modeling knowledge (Regression & Decay - typical of lifecycle models)

As it relates to Lange, we are lucky enough to see various models launch throughout the 1920s which will help derive lines-in-the-sand.

- Aug 1921 Paramount Line

- Mar 1923 Leader

- Nov 1924 Langstile

- Jan 1925 Aristocrat

- Feb 1927 Paramount Style no. 1

- Mar 1927 Challenger

- Jun 1928 Artcraft / Super-Paramount

- Sep 1928 Aristocrat Special

- 1929 Paramount Junieor

- 1932 Trouper

- etc...

His personal life and post 1940 period had also previously been unknown - I'll shed a bit more light on this further down.

As for the Dating Chart (obviously rounded the figures):

1921: Unserialized - 100

1922: 101 - 600

1923: 601 - 2800

1924: 2801 - 5800

1925: 5801 - 8300

1926: 8301 - 9900

1927: 9901 - 11200

1928: 11201 - 12700

1929: 12701 - 13800

1930: 13801 - 14700

1931: 14701 - 15300

1932: 15301 - 15800

Super-Paramounts (The Work of Mike Westfall - Wuzapicker)

1928/1929: 0-99

1929/1930: 100-159

1930/1931: 160-179

1931/1932: 180-229

1932/1933: 230-259

1933/1934: 260-279

1934/1935: 280+

More to the story:

Lange was first and foremost a businessman who dabbled in many things.  He and Rettberg sold Dearborn trucks and then banjos, he was a banking board member/executive, etc.  He supplied numerous boutique makers with sub-brands, patent licenses in the US and abroad, and liked to sue people.  After his 1930s venture into guitars, Lange more/less disappeared; that is if you are looking for him in the music business.  If you look hard enough, you'd have figured out that the Page tuners on his banjos were no mistake.  He and Robert Page were in business together. Mr. Page also happened to be a printing machine manufacturer who simply repurposed his knowledge into another field.  In 1941 Robert Page died, which opened the door for Lange to completely exit the music business and pursue his other businesses fulltime.  He does seem to continue his wood & metal working/pattern business (probably to supply other business partners/ventures) until 1946 out of his Java St location, and permanently moves his printing & manufacturing of printing devices operation to 41 Union Sq W after the sale of the building on E. 24th St (which he never did own) - this business was active until at least 1957.  Lange only had one daughter and was an extremely private individual who never seemed to have his name spoken in the newspapers unless it was business related.

Hope someone finds some interest in all this.


Edited by - banjotrader on 12/15/2020 05:19:12

csacwp - Posted - 12/14/2020:  16:21:47

Lange was also a musician and played in a BMG club (where he became acquainted with Shirley Spaulding).

maneckep - Posted - 12/14/2020:  16:25:38

I own two banjos by Lange - a Lange-craft tenor (1930s) and a unmarked 5-string open back that dates to about 1915. Neither one has a serial number on it. They are both great banjos though. Too bad he didn't put serial numbers on all of them.

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