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May 22, 2022 - 2:13:29 PM
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5153 posts since 3/22/2008

Many years ago I set out to discover all the pre-WWII banjo makers and banjo purveyors located in and around New York City and as far out as Plainfield and also Jersey City. I found a reference to Maxim banjos in NYC and added the brand to my list. But for the last decade I never saw an actual Maxim banjo of any kind. Ever. Well golly, attached is a Maxim branded banjo now posted on ebay under antiques. The Maxim brand is that of jobber M. S. Pohs Company, 100 Fifth Ave. New York City in the 1920's. I am sharing this discovery because I know many of you have also been looking for an example of a Maxim banjo!


May 22, 2022 - 3:32:36 PM

2916 posts since 3/30/2008

bing.com/images/search?view=de...thid=OIP.

There are a lot of similarities to this Lyon & Healy product. (an interesting detail is that that both instruments have a gap in frets where the neck meets the body). 

Edited by - tdennis on 05/22/2022 15:37:05

May 22, 2022 - 3:50:04 PM
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2995 posts since 4/7/2010

The head tensioning design is one used by the prolific, but relatively unknown in modern times, manufacturer Globe. As they were a ghost manufacturer, you never see their name on the low end instruments they made.

Attached is a photo of a known Globe banjo uke. It uses the same head tensioning device as the MAXIM. I believe the patent is for the stop sign design body shape. It is design patent # 74,174, granted on January 3, 1928 and was assigned to the Globe Music Company of Saint Charles, IL.

Bob Smakula


 

May 23, 2022 - 9:20:18 AM

5153 posts since 3/22/2008

Thank you for the head's up. Now that we have a Maxim it is on to a Rivola banjo another which I have also never seen.

May 23, 2022 - 11:24:15 AM

Jbo1

USA

1139 posts since 5/19/2007

Bob Smakula , were autographed heads a specialty of Maxim banjos?

I'm kidding, but in the sample provided, 100% of the banjos feature autographed heads.

May 23, 2022 - 12:05:10 PM
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6923 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Jbo1

Bob Smakula , were autographed heads a specialty of Maxim banjos?

I'm kidding, but in the sample provided, 100% of the banjos feature autographed heads.


it was a cultural phenomenon for one generation.  Collecting autographs of friends or classmates on banjo ukuleles was the in thing to do. 

May 23, 2022 - 1:32:48 PM
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5153 posts since 3/22/2008

You know, I was going to do a story about the hx of the banjo uke using the autographed head as a thread for the story. Over time, I bought about half dozen of them as I prepared for the story. But, I could never find a period citeable reference to document what Joel posted above about the fad. So, after a couple of years I gave up and sold my banjo ukes. The kids signed not only the head but wherever else they could (attached).


May 23, 2022 - 1:43:37 PM

Jbo1

USA

1139 posts since 5/19/2007

Maybe that Joseph Rogers guy started the fad.

May 23, 2022 - 1:47:02 PM
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5153 posts since 3/22/2008

I always liked banjo ukes with a little calfskin head art too.


May 23, 2022 - 6:06:25 PM

6923 posts since 9/21/2007

beezaboy , that is a tough one. I think I would target college publications but this is very informal, like finding when and why people started signing yearbooks... or anything.

It could be that banjo ukes were popular for a short time and handy for getting your friends to sign them as a college keepsake.

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May 24, 2022 - 3:04:31 AM

5153 posts since 3/22/2008

Joel Hooks
Yes, I had the same idea as you - follow the colleges. So, over time I purchased about half dozen College Humor magazines from ebay. Rats, not a single banjo uke story let alone a story about autographing your friends' banjo ukes. No dice. Even the "humor" was not humorous. Attached are a few images I was going to use for the story. (Confession: the Avalon - Delta Upsilon was my own fraternity and a DIY from some old decals I had in a back-in-the-day box).
The big picture banjo uke story has a little tension as there is debate about the originator of the instrument - Bolander vs. Keech. I am a Bolander advocate.


May 24, 2022 - 3:21:51 AM

5153 posts since 3/22/2008

A few photos of some banjo uke college stuff


May 24, 2022 - 8:04:08 AM

2228 posts since 2/12/2009

From about 1940 the JE Dallas company marketed a banjo uke endorsed by the Lancashire singer/comedian George Formby, there were five models of varying quality and all featured a facsimile signature on the head, this is still considered to be a most desirable feature when these old ukes change hands today, I dont know what technique was used but the "autograph" fools many people even now.

May 24, 2022 - 11:02:13 AM

5153 posts since 3/22/2008

I am a George Formby fan though I've not seen the J.E. Dallas banjo ukes with George's autograph. I do have a couple of outstanding (for me) George Formby movie stills that I really like. The country scene is from a 1939 movie but I don't know the name of the film. The solo photo is from a 1940 film "Spare A Copper".

Edit:  I did Google a George Formby Dallas banjo uke with Formby's image on the peghead.


Edited by - beezaboy on 05/24/2022 11:11:18

May 24, 2022 - 11:19:03 AM

2228 posts since 2/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by beezaboy

I am a George Formby fan though I've not seen the J.E. Dallas banjo ukes with George's autograph. I do have a couple of outstanding (for me) George Formby movie stills that I really like. The country scene is from a 1939 movie but I don't know the name of the film. The solo photo is from a 1940 film "Spare A Copper".

Edit:  I did Google a George Formby Dallas banjo uke with Formby's image on the peghead.


That looks like a Dallas D, pretty near the top of the range, when new the head would have had the signature stamp on it at about 10 o clock as viewed from the front. the enamel badge on the headstock is also a desirable feature since these often go missing too.

May 25, 2022 - 4:26:16 AM
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2995 posts since 4/7/2010

I have just loaned my banjo head art collection to one of the West Virginia University libraries for them to exhibit. I'll start a separate thread when the exhibit opens. It will be up through the summer and in to the fall

Bob Smakula


 

May 25, 2022 - 7:06:33 AM

5153 posts since 3/22/2008

Bob - I had no idea that you were an art-connoisseur. I am looking forward to seeing your exhibit. In that vein other banjo (uke) art attached.yes


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