Small pre-war American Firms click for more

Green Mountain Violin Co. AW Soprano Ukulele
Green Mountain AW Soprano
As the first wave of Ukulele popularity grew, so a number of new companies jumped on the bandwagon. Some were Manufacturers with a history of making other instruments, some were Distributors, (or Jobbers as they were called at the time) who decided there was profit in having their own brands to market. Often now though there is very little information on what they made or sold.

the Dayton Stringed Instrument Co.

"The Dayton" is a range of high quality instruments including Mandolins, Guitars, Banjos and Banjoleles built originally in Dayton, Ohio (hence the name - there are stories the company moved from Dayton but this appears not to be true). Manufacturing was started by Charles Rausch who in the beginning, (about 1911), made all the instruments himself but it grew to become a proper manufacturing company in about 1922 and appears to have ceased production by 1938. Though they made Mandolins, Violins and Guitars they do not appear to have made wooden Ukuleles

Green Mountain Violin Corporation

From Stowe, Vermont, this was a small company founded in 1918 that originally made Violins, however early in 1922 they branched out into the field of Ukuleles and Banjoleles. The company made instruments out of native Vermont woods and their Violins were branded as Artcraft. The Ukuleles and Banjoleles were marked A.W. and the "A.W." stood for "All Warranted" so is it a brand? It doesn't appear that they were around for too long because in April of 1922 a fire destroyed the factory, (though most of the completed instruments were stored in a separate warehouse), and after this it doesn't look like the company ever produced instruments again, so it is quite possible 1922 was the only year the A.W. Ukuleles were made, (and I have only read there were Banjoleles?).

Leedy Drum Co

Founded in 1895 in Indianapolis, the Leedy Drum Co. grew to be come the biggest drum and percussion manufacturer in the world in the first half of the 1920's. Like Ludwig, the popularity of the Banjo in the mid 20's led it to expand its catalogue to include Banjos in 1926 and like Ludwig it lost an awful lot of money doing this leading to it being taken over by G.C. Conn in 1930, (again like Ludwig), and all Banjo production ceasing in 1932. Unlike Ludwig, whose Banjos are reputed to be some of the best ever made, Leedy's are reputedly only average to maybe a little better than average though very highly decorated with a lot of pearloid on the fret boards and resonators and often little pictured for fret markers. (For a continued history of Leedy drums go to the website above). Leedy certainly made Tenor, Plectrum and 5 string Banjos but I have never read about them making a Banjolele. That said though I have never read anywhere that they made Ukuleles however I have a picture of a Ukulele made to commemorate Charles Lindbergh's crossing of the Atlantic that is marked as being made by Leedy? Leedy did do a lot of marketing stunts while it was an independent company so this was probably made as a short run for one of those and possibly by another maker on Leedy's behalf? The Banjolele pictured has an identical Lindy brand across the headstock so must have been part of the same promotion, (but there is nothing on it to prove it was made by Leedy, I'm just assuming).

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