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Aug 7, 2022 - 12:17:26 PM
2 posts since 7/24/2016

Does anyone know where I might find more information on Dayton banjos? I have one with a 1691 serial number in the pot- no inlay in the headstock or serial number on the neck so idk if that has been replaced or not. I would like to know what year it was built. I think early 1900’s but not sure. It still plays real nice!!

Aug 7, 2022 - 12:20:51 PM

3069 posts since 4/7/2010

There has been threads here on Banjo hangout concerning Dayton banjos. Do an archive search and you should be able t find what you want to know.

Bob Smakula

Aug 7, 2022 - 12:49:22 PM



2 posts since 7/24/2016

Thank you! I have looked and found a website(no longer active) and a lot of activity happening about 10 years ago. There was a lot of interesting reading, but was hoping to narrow down the year the banjo was built. Maybe a “there-abouts” is as close as I will be able to get!

Aug 7, 2022 - 1:01:23 PM



23056 posts since 7/6/2005

Gary Schattl would be your guy. Geo Rauch of Dayton was the mfg. I've only had 2 in my hands.

Aug 7, 2022 - 1:07:35 PM



1202 posts since 11/8/2014

I copied all the information about serial numbers before the site went inactive. There were not any dates associated with it, except for three violins in the 1410 - 1430 range that were dated 1922. The last serial number entry is 3192, around 1940, but my understanding is that there were a bit over 4000 instruments built between 1910 and 1940. You can figure that if Rauch was building instruments at a steady rate, that would put your banjo at about 1924/1925. Is yours a tenor or 5 string? Pictures would be nice to see.

Aug 7, 2022 - 1:51:47 PM



1202 posts since 11/8/2014

Here is the website from the internet archive.

Aug 7, 2022 - 5:36:11 PM

2167 posts since 4/18/2007

TwoTrax and I assembled the serial numbers and website. We also did all of the research that was listed in those posts.

Chas. B. Rauch was the maker. 

What specifically is listed on the metal tag?  Photos also would be helpful.

Edited by - Slingerland on 08/07/2022 17:39:04

Aug 7, 2022 - 5:43:52 PM

2167 posts since 4/18/2007


Both TwoTrax and I have conducted extensive Federal Census, city directory, and other research for both Dayton, Ohio and Sioux City, IA, regarding the Dayton String Instrument Co. (DSI). The fruits of this research will be published and made for public consumption at some later point.

So far, the research suggests that DSI never moved production from Dayton, Ohio, as previously thought. At this point, the best explanation for the Sioux City connection is that this was a sales department. Cadenza articles from 1923 list Sioux City as a "General Sales Department" for DSI. The closest business found in the Sioux City city directories was Templeman Plectrum Quartette & Mandolin Orchestra (located at 406 4th st, the DSI ad lists the address for the DSI sales department at 404 4th st). This information comes from the 1927 Sioux City city directory.

Chas. B. Rauch, the founder/sole proprietor of DSI was also director of the Dayton Mandolin Orchestra. At the most, it appears that some sales could have went through Sioux City with some possible connection with the Templeman. There is no mention of DSI or Chas. B. Rauch in any city directory in Sioux City. The Dayton city directories show DSI being active as instrument manufacturers until at least 1938. After which time, DSI is listed as a musical instrument dealer. After Rauch died in 1943, his wife is listed with DSI, until at least 1946 as musical instrument dealers.

To recap, there is no evidence to indicate the company moved from Dayton, Ohio and there is significant evidence to show that they did not in fact move.

About the dates- there is a lot of discovery that needs to be done. At this point, we can say that serial number 4 was made during 1911 (the patent was pending). Also, serial number 1000 is around 1922 because we see the shift from the Rauch label to the DSI label. The 1922 Dayton city directory contains the first entry for DSI. In the 1910 census, Rauch is listed as a music teacher, not manufacturer like in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. It appears that Rauch started making instruments as a profession in 1911.

During the 30s, there are references to Chas. B. Rauch as a commercial printer at the same address of his workshop. I would be interested to know what he was printing. I would assume at a minimum, materials related to his business (catalogs, instrument labels, flyers, etc). After 1938, DSI is listed as a dealer not a manufacturer.

The meaning of the serial numbers is something we are in the process of understanding. With our limited examples so far, there are large gaps in the numbers and they seem to pool around certain areas. Our best estimate of Rauch's years of production is 1911-1938, roughly 27 years. We have thus far accounted for a range of serial numbers, that if taken to run consecutively, would indicate that Rauch made an average of 1 instrument every 3 days during this time. Tthis seems like a lot of instruments for a small operation to be putting out. Rauch is also listed as a music teacher during the years of instrument manufacturing. This would seem to suggest that he made less than 1 instrument every 3 days. But this is just speculation.

There is still a lot to learn, but progress is being made.

© 2011 Paul Dolce

Edited by - Slingerland on 08/07/2022 17:46:25

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