Emenee / Chris-Kratt

Emenee Flamingo Plastic Soprano Ukulele Corner
My Emenee Flamingo
Chriss Kratt Plastic Soprano Ukulele
Chris-Kratt Flamingo
Emenee Industries was organized in 1949 and produced mainly organs and musical toys for children. Between 1955 and 1968, Emenee was located in Flushing, New York where it became a leading manufacturer of plastic toys while continuing to produce musical instruments. In May of 1968, the Ohio Art Company, a toy company from Bryan, Ohio, purchased 51 percent of Emenee stock and the company production was moved to Stryker. Emenee administrative offices were then located at Ohio Art. Ohio Art are still in business but don't currently appear to be making musical instruments.

Emenee produced a number of plastic Ukuleles and 4 string Banjo Ukuleles over the years,the most famous being the Flamingo, endorsed by Arthur Godfrey, (he endorsed a lot of things), often with the pitch pipes attached to the top of the headstock. They also made a number of Ukuleles for Disney like the Zorro and the Davy Crockett, a Jimmy Durante and a Howdy-Doody endorsed Ukulele plus a number of other own brands like Wai Ki KiHootin'anny and Band Stand

Quite how the Chris-Kratt Flamingo Plastic ukulele fits in is a bit of a mess as there isn't a lot of information about the company itself. I know it was founded by Christian Kratt, who is most famous as a US distributor of brass instrument and was based in Union New Jersey. (which is the same town as WM Kratt Co. the pitch pipe maker but I can find no link between the two?), but that is basically it. All of the other information I have, and this is very specific for the Ukulele, comes from the 1950 case and the 1952 appeal where Macaferri took Chris-Kratt Instruments Co. and Park Plastics Co. (the actual makers), to court for copying the Islander Ukulele. From the case notes we learn that the design of the Flamingo started in October 1949 and production started in June 1950, (5 months after the Islander), We also learn that there are 4 main parts to the Flamingo not counting strings and tuners and of course we learn that Maccaferri lost both the original case and the appeal. One of the other things mentioned in the case was Arthur Godfrey originally recommended the Islander but this changing to recommending the Flamingo, (no mention of money changing hands for this recommendation though?). So back to the mess; both Emenee and Chris-Kratt called their Ukulele the Flamingo and you can see that apart from the tuners and colours they are an identical design. Arthur Godfrey started out with a recommendation for the Chris-Kratt Flamingo and went on to a full endorsement for the Emenee Flamingo. There must be a link but I do not know exactly what it is?

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