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Dec 8, 2022 - 1:34:44 PM
5287 posts since 3/22/2008

Unusual S. S. Stewart branded banjo mandolin or violin scroll Bandolin on ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/175522057033?hash=item28ddee0b49:g:Ko8AAOSwZr9jj5qo

I don't think the Philadelphia S. S. Stewart ever made a banjo mandolin or Bandolin.

Mystery is where the chunk of celluloid with the Stewart name upon came from?

Dec 8, 2022 - 1:38:22 PM
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7362 posts since 9/21/2007

Perhaps it came from the same place all of those Gibson labels come from?

Dec 8, 2022 - 1:52:37 PM

2087 posts since 5/19/2018

Certainly not a Stewart in make. Almost all of those type instruments were made in Europe. I forget, either Italy or Germany. That is a European made instrument. Late 20’s. Early 30’s.

Interesting that it has a S.S.Stewart badge on it.

Cool instrument.

Dec 8, 2022 - 2:26:08 PM

jbalch

USA

8870 posts since 11/28/2003

Who knows about the origins of that one? Maybe just someone (maybe long ago?) embelishing an instrument to add perceived value.

But one thing is for sure, the SS Stewart name was used by many different makers. There is a history on the old mugwumps website.

http://www.mugwumps.com/sss_date.html

Edited by - jbalch on 12/08/2022 14:27:21

Dec 8, 2022 - 2:38:45 PM

3186 posts since 4/7/2010

The cursive "S.S. Stewart" has me thinking the celluloid is from the B&J period. I wonder if it is original to the banjo or added by someone trying to confuse John Hoft. We'll never know.

Bob Smakula

Dec 8, 2022 - 3:29:43 PM

7362 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by jbalch

Who knows about the origins of that one? Maybe just someone (maybe long ago?) embelishing an instrument to add perceived value.

But one thing is for sure, the SS Stewart name was used by many different makers. There is a history on the old mugwumps website.

http://www.mugwumps.com/sss_date.html


Don't use mugwumps, the info is very outdated. 

Dec 8, 2022 - 3:50:39 PM
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3186 posts since 4/7/2010

jbalch

John Hoft is the undeniable expert on the history of who owned the S.S. Stewart trademark from the earliest days to now (Deering owns it) I have to say he knows significantly more than Mike Holmes did in the subject. To be fair, Mike Holmes did the best he could with the resources available in the 1970's through the early 2000's. Unfortunately much of the Mugwumps information is outdated and inaccurate. I am of the opinion there should be a disclaimer on every Mugwumps page Indicating the information is dated and that there are other resources to get the latest in banjo historical research.

Bob Smakula

Dec 8, 2022 - 4:12:23 PM

deke46

Australia

157 posts since 8/30/2009

I`d say nothing to do with SS Stewart, English origin for sure likely by Abbott, that peghead was one of his favourite features.
I have a Barnes and Mullins banjo mandolin on my website, vintagebanjosautralia.com.au. made by Abbott and a couple of melody banjos, also by him. all with the same feature. :-)

Dec 8, 2022 - 4:53:51 PM

5287 posts since 3/22/2008

Thank you for your thoughts about and identification of this instrument.

It appears that this resonator back has been subject to decalcomania a word which I've seen many times about 1920's Sears and Montgomery Ward banjos but did not know what it meant.  Until now!

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/decalcomania

Dec 9, 2022 - 5:42:02 AM
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7362 posts since 9/21/2007

I used to be more tactful in my recommendations against the mugwumps website, I guess I have lost my patience about it.

It kinda haunts me. I've even had people throw it at me as concrete documentation. Many dealers that deal in classic era banjos will reference it too.

Here is a quick revision I did to a section he has on SSS banjos. My revisions are not perfect but it was only done to show how unreliable mugwumps is. That website is about half wrong.

Dec 9, 2022 - 6:33:50 AM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

4364 posts since 3/11/2004

Joel, thanks for posting your edits on the Mugwumps timeline along with your own timeline. I doubt that this will prevent further confusion, but it is one very helpful step.

My Stewart Thoroughbred (15394 - not a Special) with the Kuenstler neck adapter would appear to be 1897.

David

Dec 9, 2022 - 7:15:40 AM

7362 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by dbrooks

Joel, thanks for posting your edits on the Mugwumps timeline along with your own timeline. I doubt that this will prevent further confusion, but it is one very helpful step.

My Stewart Thoroughbred (15394 - not a Special) with the Kuenstler neck adapter would appear to be 1897.

David


1897 seems to have been a big year.  I think I have seen more examples from that year than any other. I have a champion hanging on my wall at work #18073 and I have a UF at home #15594.

Dec 9, 2022 - 9:06:03 AM

5287 posts since 3/22/2008

Attached is timeline for S.S. Stewart in Twentieth Century.
Buegeleisen & Jacobson acquired the S.S. Stewart tradename in August 1914 from Keen-O-Phone(attached).
At that time the Stewart factory was in Keen-O-Phone's talking machine cabinet plant in Frankford, Penna.
Within a couple of months B&J began selling S.S. Stewart branded banjos.
Then, in Oct. 1915 B&J purchased the remains of the S.S. Stewart banjo factory from Keen-O-Phone (attached).
Maybe the Keen-O-Phone Stewart factory made the 1st batch of B&J's Stewart branded banjos in 1914. How would we ever know as the 1914 Stewart banjos would look pretty much the same as they had during The Bauer Company era.


Dec 9, 2022 - 9:30:06 AM

5287 posts since 3/22/2008

In fact, I think I own a banjo from the Stewart Frankford factory! One of my most prized banjos. Recall that the 4-String Banjo Mandolin (Melody Banjo) made its appearance in the fall of 1914. At that time the Stewart Frankford factory was still extant. My Stewart "Melody Banjo" has a kind of slap-dash appearance that one might expect from a teetering manufacturer on the brink of closure. It is a keen old "Melody Banjo" and I can dream about its manufacturer anyway.


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