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Oct 27, 2020 - 5:06:02 PM
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632 posts since 5/4/2014

Further Revisions/Additions to: https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/328834
As of Oct 27 2020

If you ever wondered who the guys were that made your B&D banjos.  They've all touched your banjo in some way, shape or form!


Executives/Directors/Officers/Workers (1921-1940):
- Frederick J Bacon/ Cassie M (Initial Investor / President / Board of Directors)
- Noah F Ball (Initial Investor & Board of Directors) Transferred the mortgage of the building where he was running his pattern carving business to Bacon.  This is before the Middle building was built to join the front to the over-the-water building. 
- Charles F Baker (Superintendent & Initial Investor / Asst. Sec.)
- Burt J Clark (Board of Directors / Pres. / VP / Treas. / Asst. Sec.)
- David L Day (Gen Mgr / VP / President / Treasurer / Asst. Treasurer / Board of Directors)
- William J Falk (Initial Investor)
- Byron A Fones (Board of Directors)
- John F Latham (Initial Investor)
- Frederick P Latimer (Board of Directors / Asst. Secretary)
- Mildred W Lucy (Asst. Treasurer / Asst. Sec / Board of Directors)
- R C Rolfing (Board of Directors / Treasurer)
- Thomas A Scott (Board of Directors)
- Maurice R Sherman (General Manager)
- Ernest Whiton (Board of Directors)
- Ernest Oliver Winship/ Bessie M ( Initial Investor / Board of Directors / Asst. Treasurer)
- Farney R Wurlitzer (Board of Directors / Secretary)
- Howard E Wurlitzer (Board of Directors)
- Rudolph H Wurlitzer (Board of Directors / Vice President /  Treasurer)

Shop Workers:
- Charles F Baker (Superintendent)
- Clyde K Baker (Inlayer)
- Americo/Manuel Battencourt/Battincourt (Finish Work)
- Alberto Berardi (employed until/near the closure of Bacon Banjo after the Hurricane.  In 1942 he lists his skills as being engraving.  He did a multitude of jobs "Assembler/Joiner/String Maker/Engraver"..  He was a great guitar players who had played with Bacon before coming to work for him.
- Charles E Bishop (Machinist)
- William E Bracewell (Foreman)
- Caesar Cioci (Assembly & Head Installing)
- Dorothy M Doyle (Packing)
- George Erickson (Trade Millwright)
- Walter A Gagne (Trades Cabinet Maker)
- George Guest (Carving early Ne Plus Ultra and No.7+ after the Gen2Lion appears)
- Ernest Clarence Hooker (foreman) (Ernest worked for Bacon in Forestdale and owned his "Stonehurst" for a number of years).
- William Howard Lincoln (Trade Carpenter)
- Harris L Hymon (Head of Polishing, Painting & Wood Finishing)  [had experience as machinist while working for Noah Ball,  he also lived in the front apartment at one time] - he may have been involved in carving work as well.  Is said to have worked for factory until it finally closed.
- Mildred W Lucy (Secretary & Executive in late company history)
- Owen S Miner (Shipping Clerk)
- George L Nye (Bookkeeper)
- Faust Pierfederici (Trade Carpenter) [was sponsored by Alberto Berardi upon arrival to US]
- Dagny (Erickson) Shea (Stenographer)
- Louise B (Tracey) Newbury (Secretary to Fred J Bacon)
- Dorcas Whaley Brogan (Stenographer)
- Mildred Weeks (Stenographer)
- Joseph Clemons Hooker (Ernest Hooker's son)
- William A Kalin (employed until/near the closure of Bacon Banjo after the Hurricane)
- Frederick H McLaughlin
- Edgar O Tanguay
- Joseph Ward
- Gladys F Baker
- Victor H Crandall
- Eugene Russell Hall (Trade Carpenter)

Locations of Bacon Businesses in New London/Groton, CT (1915-1940):
- 121 Broad St
- 9 Brewer St
- Plant Building (State St)
- 169/269-275 Thames St (This was due to a renumbering of the street, it didn't actually move)

NEWS
An interesting mention is significant to the overall manufacture of these instrument: Listed as a pattern and model marker just before Bacon Banjo is created, Noah Ball sold the Mortgage to Bacon in 1920/1921.  He appears to have advised Bacon from 1915-1921 on pattern carving.  In 1921, Mr. Ball moved to Mystic/Noank and one of his old employees Eugene Nilsen took over the business and focused specifically on Wood Pattern carving (New London Pattern & Model Works).  It is very likely they did all the No.2+ work on Heel carvings and Gen2 Lions.  Guest does appear to have continued in some capacity but only for No.7+ works as orders came in (infrequently).

We've also uncovered Bacon's Forestdale operation employees as (John Berner, Ernest Hooker, Frank & Petter Pfanning [Frank also operated Bacon's Maple Sugar candy business ~1910 ], Fred Johnson & J.A. Saunders)

John Bernor was the local postmaster and would have handled Bacon's business of Vega/Lange built banjos being shipped around.

George Guest:
Whom I checked past skills; has no mention of ever doing any engraving work (metal or otherwise).  All his work for Pratt is clay & cast related only.  Was living in Boston until at least 1915 (at age ~50). Worked for Banjo factory in 1924+.

Quotes about Guest from Letters between Pratt and his mother:
Feb 4th 1894:

...I have hired one of the boys at the Museum to help me, a poor young man from New London who studied at the Norwich Academy. I will give him 40 cents an hour, which is pretty good pay as he really knows little about modeling. He will be useful in doing the ornamental work and the lettering. His name is George Guest. He is quiet and seems very willing and a hard worker. He studied with Miss Woodman, as in Mrs. Bryson Burroughs, at the academy. He doesn't smell very clean when he sweats which is not pleasant, but this is the only objection to him so far....

Nov 23 1913:
"..He is now at work on "Venus". I can't see why he should not make a first-rate sculptor..."

Jan 4th 1914:
The big news this week is that Geo. Guest is actually married! As I was about to go home on Thursday, he said very casually that he was going to quit a little early as he was going to be married at seven o'clock.  Next morning he was back at work again the same as usual and on my desk was his marriage certificate all duly signed.  They have a room somewhere nearby and so far I guess they spend most of their evenings at home or at moving-picture shows. It does seem queer to think of his being "spliced" as he calls it after he worked for me for twenty years and hardly let a day go by without making merry at the expense of the poor fools who got "caught" as he said. And he got married by a regular minister too! The young lady would not stand for the Justice of the Peace racket that he has always allowed was the only proper way. There is something about her, which makes me feel that George is not going to be the "whole cheese" in that household. Anyhow, I feel that if he is at all reasonable, she will make him a first rate wife.   PS- They divorced not long after!!

Edited by - banjotrader on 10/28/2020 12:38:46

Oct 28, 2020 - 3:52:51 AM

Wyozark

USA

1044 posts since 12/2/2012

Great research and history. Thanks.

Oct 28, 2020 - 10:14:58 AM

24 posts since 5/1/2016

I have been going to Groton for years and I was surprised when I found out about the association with Bacon. Bacon was pretty much destroyed by the 1938 hurricane that clobbered the whole area. I was googling around and stumbled across this: sites.google.com/a/uconn.edu/3...atie/home

Oct 28, 2020 - 10:22:39 AM

5719 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by jdskyler

I have been going to Groton for years and I was surprised when I found out about the association with Bacon. Bacon was pretty much destroyed by the 1938 hurricane that clobbered the whole area. I was googling around and stumbled across this: sites.google.com/a/uconn.edu/3...atie/home


Strange, this photo of "Fred Bacon 1901" looks an awful lot like the photo of Frank Bradbury's son in the front of his Mel Bay Banjo Instruction book. 

How did Bacon get that tenor banjo so early?

Oct 28, 2020 - 10:26:34 AM
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632 posts since 5/4/2014

haha... As you likely know Joel that picture isnt Bacon, and the site linked above; like so many others; is full of incorrect facts.

Oct 28, 2020 - 12:34:44 PM
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4759 posts since 3/22/2008

The photo is of my good friend Dave Herbert posing with his Gretsch B&D Serenader in about 1949/1950. Dave was awarded this banjo for an appearance on a tv show when he was 18. (see attached). Dave went on to play Vega and Groton made tenor and plectrum banjos through his professional career (attached). Dave started performing in the late 1940's locally in the Cincinnati area in "jazz" bands and from time to time thereafter, then up to Cleveland in a daytime tv show, then down to Miami for many years in a tv show. Retired now in Florida. One of the really nice guys you'd ever meet.


Oct 28, 2020 - 1:39 PM

5719 posts since 9/21/2007
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quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy

The photo is of my good friend Dave Herbert posing with his Gretsch B&D Serenader in about 1949/1950. Dave was awarded this banjo for an appearance on a tv show when he was 18. (see attached). Dave went on to play Vega and Groton made tenor and plectrum banjos through his professional career (attached). Dave started performing in the late 1940's locally in the Cincinnati area in "jazz" bands and from time to time thereafter, then up to Cleveland in a daytime tv show, then down to Miami for many years in a tv show. Retired now in Florida. One of the really nice guys you'd ever meet.


Cool!

I wonder how that website came to the conclusion that it was Fred?

Oct 28, 2020 - 2:38:24 PM

4759 posts since 3/22/2008

*I wonder how that website came to the conclusion that it was Fred?*

Joel -   I think I have it.  In the May/June 2015 issue of All Frets magazine appeared an article entitled "Bacon and B&D Silver Bell Banjos - The Gretsch Years - 1940-1972".  In that article the subject photo appeared with with the article's text to illustrate a Gretsch B&D banjo.  Someone apparently captured the photo.  In the magazine article this photo is captioned "Dave Herbert and his 'Serenader" - 1950".  How this photo could have been mistaken for a photo of Fred Bacon I'll leave to your worldly imagination.

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