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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tenor banjo 4 string with a star on top

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Altbuffalo66 - Posted - 04/26/2022:  12:56:02

I have an old banjo tenor with 4 strings and a star on the top
Wondering who might have made it or what it is
Pictures added it does have a patent
No knot
Nov 19 1901

beegee - Posted - 04/26/2022:  13:26:06

What is the patent number and where is it located on the banjo?

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/26/2022:  13:41:55

That name and patent date are for the tailpiece alone and are totally meaningless for IDing the actuall banjo. That star is alos a generic decoration used by many, so is also useless marker. The "No-knot" tailpiece was used for decades by numerous makers, and reproductions are still being made.

That said, the "top" as you call it (the usual term is peghead or headstock) is shaped like some Rettburg and Lange banjos, usually made for wholesalers, or department stores like Sears, and often unmarked. This one looks like a beginner grade banjo. I"d put an approximate date of 1920. (that's give or take a couple years.

One final note: more and better pictures would help, particularly of the back and the inside of the round part (pot). Also, when taking photos, please take the banjo out of the case. That case throws shadows that can obscure details.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 04/26/2022 13:43:43

Ira Gitlin - Posted - 04/26/2022:  13:42:46

That patent just applies to the tailpiece. If it's a tenor banjo, it's more recent, since tenor banjo were introduced just before WWI.

beegee - Posted - 04/26/2022:  15:01:30

My best guess is Supertone, probably sold by Sears

Culloden - Posted - 04/26/2022:  21:57:20

My first impression was Supertone. That was a store brand name and could be made by any one of several makers. I'm thinking Slingerland, but it could have been made by Rettberg & Lange among others.
The tailpiece was, as mentioned, used by many different makers including Vega, and Bacon. It is still a favorite with Old Time musicians. Modern versions of it are still being produced complete with patent date.
I agree with George's approximation of age.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 04/26/2022:  23:56:54

Like Mark, i lean toward Slingserland. Particularly if the diameter is 10 3/4”.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 04/27/2022:  06:15:33

Every Slingerland I've seen has had 20 or more hooks; this one has only 16. Although the headstock is similar to the usual Slingerland shape, it isn't the same, but more like some of the Supertones (usually those have a paper label [or glue residue from that label] inside the rim) and other R & L banjos. Measuring the head diameter (only the actual skin, not the metal ring holding it) might confirm what company actually made this. I am still going with R & L.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 04/27/2022 06:17:41

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