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Buegeleisen and Jacobson (B&J)

mainland mahogany
SS Stewart
the Mele
B&J Kent made in japan Soprano Ukulele Corner
(MiJ) Kent Soprano
(Samuel) Buegeleisen & Jacobson was a musical instrument distributor based in New York City. The company formed in 1901 and was in business until 1975. They did not manufacture their own instruments, instead they sold a full range of instruments made by an assortment of different companies. Their Ukuleles were sold under a number of brand names, including Serenader, Mele, Kent, University, (maybe to compete with all of the college based names, or maybe because their address was 113 University place?), and S.S. Stewart, and I have seen an advertisement showing the introduction of Banjoleles to their catalogue in 1917

The Serenader name was first used on Ukuleles in 1926. The trademark was registered in 1927 and renewed in 1947, so it was used for quite a long period of time. It was used on instruments that were supplied to B&J by a number of different companies over the years, mainly Oscar Schmidt from New Jersey and Harmony and Regal from Chicago, but possibly others too? In the 1950's Serenader brand instruments were still on sale but were imported from Japan.

Samuel Swain (SS) Stewart was a real person who started making Banjos in 1878 and his company continued production until 1910. In 1915 B&J purchased the name and used it on their Banjos and Banjoleles plus a number of other instruments including Ukuleles, Guitars and Mandolins. This was B&J's premium brand name but the actual instruments were made by the usual B&J suppliers plus more up market makers like Favella, Turturro, Gibson, (this is the only company to re-brand Gibson Ukuleles), and Martin, (12 only!) plus possibly others. I have seen the S.S. Stewart name used in conjunction with others too, like the SS Stewart University. I have also read that B&J purchased a small New York Banjo workshop at the time they acquired the name to make instruments using this brand name. I'm not sure if it's true but I am sure that it wasn't the workshop of NY luthier Gaetano Puntolillo, (as I have seen suggested). Puntolillo did make, certainly Banjoleles, to be branded SS Stewart but he also made them for others too.

Kent was a brand name used on a number of different instruments imported from Japan from the 1950's to the 70's made by the OEM Japanese makers of the time. I have also seen it used on a Musima Banjolele from the DDR.

I have read that Fletcher, Copock & Newman in the UK also used the brand name Kent? I can't corroborate this and I also couldn't say they weren't just reselling B&J instruments in Europe if they did - If anyone has any further information I'd like to know?

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