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AC Fairbanks "Fairbanks and Cole" year identified

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Feb 21, 2020 - 6:39:23 PM
35 posts since 1/26/2020

I'm making an attempt at refurbishing this old wavy logo "Fairbanks and Cole" with seriel number 2801. Everything on it was original, and it seems this thing has never been taken apart, and possibly still has the original head. I removed the neck and dowel assembly and saw in faint pencil some numbers, on the top part of the dowel that you would never see unless you remove the head or the neck. It wrote "1891." Has anyone experienced similar? It had a very thin finger board which was crumbling off of the neck.

Feb 21, 2020 - 7:27:57 PM



248 posts since 6/27/2011

Pencil markings such as yours are found on vintage banjos from time to time. Usually there's no way to tell who made them, or when.

Your curvy F&C-stamped banjo was made by the A.C Fairbanks Co. in the early 1890's. Today's serialization charts are approximations. In this instance, it's possible the pencil marking corresponds with the banjo's year of manufacture, or it could have been added in recent years by someone informed enough of Fairbanks history to guestimate the build year.

Edited by - esmic on 02/21/2020 19:30:51

Feb 21, 2020 - 7:38:03 PM

35 posts since 1/26/2020

Based on my obsessive research between websites and the numerous archived threads on this site, I would say you're right on the money. I had estimated that this one was made between late 1890 and 1892 before they started calling base level banjo a "Curtis Electric," which had the same wavy shape but took the place of the F&C wavy logo. I will re-emphasize that there was no obvious evidence that this banjo had ever been taken apart since its manufacture.
Thanks for your response. Definitely raises my confidence in the information that I've read.

Feb 22, 2020 - 3:14:21 AM



178 posts since 6/26/2004

Take a look at the Stetson Ball Banjo listed on my media page. Stetson banjos were made by Fairbanks.

Written in pencil on the top side of the dowel stick (which has no finish) is: 

"17/10 Ball Banjo Dyer"  17 refers to the length of the fingerboard (not scale); 10 refers to the diameter of the head; Ball banjo is refers to the unique tone ring; Dyer refers to "W.J. Dyer & Brothers" of Minnesota.


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