Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @7:14:07 AM
This is a Paramount Style C banjo pot, built under patent 1,348,652 filed: April 30, 1919, Patented: Aug 3, 1920
It is NOT an Orpheum pot. Orpheum banjos made into the 1930's maintained the earlier staples over the rim construction. This is a Paramount rim, not an Orpheum.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @11:36:02 AM
Yep, see my last comments, I used this for illustrative purposes for Bill Rickard...that's why I didn't title the photo...but my Orpheum #3 uses this construction...and it is MOST definitely NOT a Paramount rim as my latest pictures show...
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @7:32:03 PM
I have seen some wierd stuff that came out of Lange's factory in the day. I have cataloged over 2000 Paramount banjos and several Orpheums. The wierd stuff is usually a one of experiment. Lange patented that rim construction in1920. I'm thinking you have a very special Orpheum #3 that was built for experimental purposes. Ordinary Orpheums aren't built that way.
If you would permit, I would like to include your banjo in my database for historical reference. If you would be so kind, may I record the serial number and some general photos to document the instrument?
I promise to give you full credit when I eventually publish my database. I am quite excited that you may have one of the missing links between Lange's Orpheum and Paramount designs. Your banjo may have been hand made by Mr. Lange himself to develop his patent.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @9:45:00 PM
Michael-no worries, I'll send you some other photos, the serial is very hard to read, it was off struck on the edge of the dowel stick by the neck brace, it appears to read "96820", but not sure of the "8". It is an awesome sounding banjo, I'll get some detailed pictures to you, now you have me interested, I bought this banjo for $800.00 from a very old collector in LA (he was a patent attorney for Mattel) about 3 years ago (I know it was a steal, but he insisted in the price knowing that I would play it). it is the only vintage banjo that I kept when I sold my collection 2 years ago because Tom Paley had an Orpheum #3 and the NLCR were one of my favorite groups. Not worried about the credit, but would be interested to know about the banjo, it most definitely uses the "bracket" construction...I'll get the camera out in the next day or two and shoot some pictures. Any particular features that you would like documented?
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 @6:26:54 AM
Thank you for your interest and kindness.
I would like photos of the back, front and perhaps an oblique side view. Also inside the rim, particularly showing the label, patent number and serial if possible. Any photos you have showing the special tone chamber installation would be appreciated too. But I'm not asking you to disassemble your present setup. The real interest among Paramount fans will be the tone chamber in your banjo. Without photos, they will be as disbelieving as I was at first.
Interestingly, I have also documented a 1921 Paramount Style B that had no serial number, no label and no patent number. But every feature is consistent with the earliest catalog illustrations. It has the same Grover friction pegs that most Orpheum banjos have. Some features are quite unlike later production versions. I think that one was probably also one of the very first Paramount banjos made.
Paramount banjos also used bracket shoes. Those were bigger than standard such as you Orpheum No. 3. On your Orpheum and others, the tone chamber shell rests upon the tops of bracket shoes. On the Paramount including the early non-serial on I described, the tone chamber shell is fluted to extend down over the tops of the shoes. Lange's patent application indicates his theory was that air would circulate through the tone chamber all around the rim.
I assume your Orpheum is the standard 11 1/8" diameter construction. Paramount heads are also 11 1/8" dia, but have smaller diameter wood rims than Orpheum banjos. The large bracket shoes extend further out to meet the hooks. I'll upload a photo to my homepage that shown a 1924 production Paramount up close for comparison with your photo.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 @3:08:33 PM
I'll shoot some pics this weekend, no problem to take off the head and shoot the tone ring, I've done a lot of building and restoration so it's not that big a deal, when I purchased this banjo the head was ripped and I subsequently replaced it, wish I would have taken pictures then...if I had known the uniqueness of the banjo I surely would have. The head is an 11 1/8, the tone chamber shell or "skirt" fits on the tops of the shoes like other Orpheum's I have seen. I posted 2 photos of the inside of the rim showing the R & L Orpheum tag and patent number, they're on my home page.
I have always liked Orpheum banjos, but had never seen one disassembled to see how the tone ring was fitted...when I bought this one I assumed that the bracket assembly was the standard tone ring set-up...guess I was wrong and right (at least for a one off).
I'll send the photos out when I can, interested to hear what you and others think about this particular banjo...
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