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The Cosmic Irony

Posted by BrittDLD1 on Monday, November 17, 2008

Well... I got on roll, while answering a question in the Topic:

So, I figured I might as well post my (slightly edited) answer here,
as well. That way, everyone will know how the rumor got started....  ;-)

Originally posted by Ronnie

While we have your attention, was there a connection with Baldwin
and Bacon and Day??


Hi Ronnie --

It's simple...
. . . Chuck Ogsbury is the reincarnation of David L. Day!    ;-)

The Hurricane of 1938 put the Bacon Banjo Co, of Groton, CT,
out of business.  David L. Day, (designer of the "B&D Silver Bell")
was Bacon's President, at that time.

Gretsch bought the remnants of Bacon, in 1940 -- and produced
banjos under the "Bacon" and "B&D Silver Bell" names, until the

In the mid-1960s ('66-'67) The Baldwin Piano Co. of Cincinnati,
bought the Fred Gretsch Co.  Gretsch was located in Brooklyn,
NY -- and was still producing Bacon and B&D banjos, at that time.

In 1966, Baldwin purchased the ODE Company, from Chuck
Ogsbury, and began producing his ODE designs, under the
Baldwin name.  Production of the Baldwin banjos remained in
Boulder, until mid-1968 -- when Baldwin moved banjo
production to their Arkansas plant.

From 1967 to 1970, the Gretsch sales force sold both Bacon
(B&D) banjos, AND Baldwin banjos.

In 1970, Baldwin moved Gretsch's  guitar production to the
Booneville, Arkansas plant -- where the Gretsch Division also
assumed production of Baldwin banjos.

At some point, between 1967, and 1970, production of Bacon
banjos -- and the famous B&D Silver Bell banjos -- stopped.
(Gretsch VP, Bill Hagner, was in the corporate meeting when
that decision was announced.  NOT Myron Koenig...)

In effect...
. . . Chuck Ogsbury's ODE banjo, killed David Day's Silver Bell.

Production of Baldwin banjos (renamed "Baldwin-ODE", and
finally just "ODE" again) continued --  in fits and starts, until
approximately 1980 -- when the Baldwin Co. went bankrupt.

In the meantime...

Chuck Ogsbury started the OME Company,  in 1971,  and
designed a line of banjos which used a SPUN tone-ring --
based on the recently-discontinued Silver Bell tone-ring design.
(It used the later "floating-lip" version -- which was originally
designed by David Day c.1930.)

In 1990, OME began producing their "Classic Jazz" banjo --
which recombined OME's "Silver Spun" rim -- with the distinctive-
looking Silver Bell-style f-hole flange and resonator.

The OME Classic Jazz is now considered by many to be the
finest "Silver Bell"-style banjo, in regular production.

So... the guy responsible for putting the Silver Bell banjo into its
grave -- is the same guy who is responsible for resurrecting it.
And he's producing it in an artistic, high-quality form -- which
rivals the originals from the late-1920s.

I call  that, "The Cosmic Irony".

Ed Britt

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