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Sep 16, 2019 - 7:05:53 PM
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862 posts since 3/1/2012

Unusual tensioning system on this one. In 1887, E.D. Allington patented this idea, which, obviously, never went anywhere—one of the many ‘improvements’ to the banjo that didn’t catch on in the late 19th century. Cool looking, though!




 

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:11:27 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

And the patent--the 4th illustration:


 

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:12:07 PM
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csacwp

USA

2372 posts since 1/15/2014
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Cool!

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:13:31 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

I am ASSUMING this is the correct patent--only one I could find where the hooks are at that angle. anybody have a better match?

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:30:33 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by csacwp

Cool!


I’m always fascinated by these banjo ideas that didn’t quite catch on...

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:33:41 PM

500 posts since 5/19/2018

I have never seen that arraingement for tension hooks before. Very interesting.

The patent drawing is for a different banjo than the one you photographed. If you look at the drawing, it appears to be for a double walled pot instrument, and the hook arrangement is completely different than the pictured banjo.

Really a very interesting piece. Never seen one like it.

You really seem to dig up,a lot of very odd birds. Let us know how it sounds once you get it up to playing condition.

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:40:43 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

I have never seen that arraingement for tension hooks before. Very interesting.

The patent drawing is for a different banjo than the one you photographed. If you look at the drawing, it appears to be for a double walled pot instrument, and the hook arrangement is completely different than the pictured banjo.

Really a very interesting piece. Never seen one like it.

You really seem to dig up,a lot of very odd birds. Let us know how it sounds once you get it up to playing condition.


Alvin—I have Rick Ciccierelli’s DVD of 19th century banjo patents, and that was the closest one I could find. I will look again. Hopefully someone here will know something. 

Sep 17, 2019 - 8:18:50 AM

1533 posts since 1/13/2012

Really interesting banjo. I doubt it has anything to do with that patent, though. The only similarity is that the tensioning mechanism is angled.

Andy

Sep 17, 2019 - 1:30:08 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

Some further observations: took the neck off, and the two screw holes in the pot do not match the one screw hole in the heel. So...not the original neck. Chances are a Buckbee neck.
The Underside of the rimstick has a XIII carved into it...probably a part number.
No stamps or nameplates on the pot.


 

Sep 17, 2019 - 2:47:44 PM

2223 posts since 3/30/2008

There is something about the coloration, & empty space at the area of the neck/pot connection. Is there a missing brace ?

Sep 17, 2019 - 2:59:28 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by tdennis

There is something about the coloration, & empty space at the area of the neck/pot connection. Is there a missing brace ?


Possibly, but remember, that photo is of the underside of the rimstick--that normally would not be visible. Maybe they just weren't as careful with ths stain there.

Sep 17, 2019 - 3:01:31 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

In looking through the DVD of 19th century banjo patents again, I still do not see anything as close as the E.D. Allington patent of March 22, 1887. I suppose it is possible that the patent was after 1900, but the DVD doesn't go further.

Sep 17, 2019 - 3:40:49 PM

2223 posts since 3/30/2008

What is the neck bracing system on this uniquely engineered instrument ?

Sep 17, 2019 - 5:23:15 PM

mbanza

USA

2149 posts since 9/16/2007

Well, Jim, it is an intriguing puzzle. I believe that unless the pot is marked "Allington", there is ample reason to suspect that it is not made by Allington.

The Allington patent drawing is of a rather typical L-shoe bolted through the rim. A round hook passes through the shoe and is tensioned with a nut.

Your example has brackets that hook over the bottom of the rim, and wide flat hooks with tapped blocks attached. Tension is applied by means of a bolt passing up through the bracket into the threaded block. Your second photo shows this clearly, as well as the fact this design is hampered by a limited range of travel, unlike an L-shoe system. It may never have been patented.

I have seen the XIII mark on Buckbee rimsticks and also noted that they are robust, particularly the large end. The XIII on your example is on the top, normally hidden, side of the stick, whereas the light colored area is on the bottom, normally visible, side. Perhaps the stick was dressed a bit to get it to fit the hole in the rim.

Sep 17, 2019 - 6:43:34 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by mbanza

Well, Jim, it is an intriguing puzzle. I believe that unless the pot is marked "Allington", there is ample reason to suspect that it is not made by Allington.

The Allington patent drawing is of a rather typical L-shoe bolted through the rim. A round hook passes through the shoe and is tensioned with a nut.

Your example has brackets that hook over the bottom of the rim, and wide flat hooks with tapped blocks attached. Tension is applied by means of a bolt passing up through the bracket into the threaded block. Your second photo shows this clearly, as well as the fact this design is hampered by a limited range of travel, unlike an L-shoe system. It may never have been patented.

I have seen the XIII mark on Buckbee rimsticks and also noted that they are robust, particularly the large end. The XIII on your example is on the top, normally hidden, side of the stick, whereas the light colored area is on the bottom, normally visible, side. Perhaps the stick was dressed a bit to get it to fit the hole in the rim.


Hey there, Vern! Glad you pitched in with your insights. I have a DVD of 19th century patents, but it doesn't extend into the 20th century. I just discovered Google Patents, and typed in 'banjo hooks'. Been working my way through over 800 entries, and no luck so far.

Your suggestion that it might not have been patented sounds like you are saying it was a one-off. That might explain the used neck. Interesting thought.

Sep 17, 2019 - 8:28:49 PM
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mbanza

USA

2149 posts since 9/16/2007

Jim, Tsumura's red book has quite a few patent illustrations in the back, though they are tiny. I'll try trolling through that in the morning.

There are oddball designs floating around out there, for example this coiled tone ring:


Sep 18, 2019 - 7:56:48 AM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

Sometimes patent designs evolve after the patent is granted. While I don't think this is related to the Allington patent...it is possible that it is simply a design evolution based on the angled bracketry, etc. Unfortunatly, if it doesn't have the patent number marked on it, you're unlikely to be able to connect the dots.

Dave Ball had a collection of obscure banjo patent models. Anybody heard from Dave lately?

Sep 18, 2019 - 8:26:55 AM

mbanza

USA

2149 posts since 9/16/2007

Thomas Williams, Athenia, NJ patented a design that looks as if it may have descended from or been influenced by the design of this banjo. Patent number 781,480 granted 31 Jan 1905: books.google.com/books?id=kJ1M...o&f=false

Sep 18, 2019 - 9:05:53 AM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by mbanza

Thomas Williams, Athenia, NJ patented a design that looks as if it may have descended from or been influenced by the design of this banjo. Patent number 781,480 granted 31 Jan 1905: books.google.com/books?id=kJ1M...o&f=false

Vern, is there a drawing attached to that? I didn’t see any.
Sep 18, 2019 - 10:26:59 AM

mbanza

USA

2149 posts since 9/16/2007

Yes, there is. Shortest way is to go to the bottom and you'll be at the end of the 31 Jan 1905 patent drawings. Scroll up until you find it. They are not arranged in any easily identifiable sequence, but you'll find it.

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:23:31 AM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

Boy, THAT was an ordeal! My wrist is hurting from scrolling.
Here is the patent drawing of the Williams patent, after screen capture and cropping in Photoshop. Still not sure if it is correct or not.


 

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:59:36 AM

mbanza

USA

2149 posts since 9/16/2007

I'll bet, only 795 items to sort through.

Sep 26, 2019 - 3:16:32 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

Finally got this one strung up and playable. Neither the Allington patent from 1887, nor the Williams patent from 1905 are quite right. Perhaps it is a one-off that never made it to the patent stage? A whole heck of a lot of precise machining went into making those hooks.
The neck is not original, as the square hole in the pot is bigger than the rimstick.
Video in a few days, when the strings stop stretching.




Sep 27, 2019 - 12:49:23 PM

862 posts since 3/1/2012

And it sounds like this...


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