Early Central European Manufacturers click for more

 Hess Soprano Ukulele with autoplayer maybe
Possibly Hess? (possibly Juka?)
From very early on the the Ukuleles history there have been a number of instruments coming out of Germany (or Schoenbach, Southern Bohemia, a German speaking region of Czechoslovakia) These may have originally been designed as Cavaquinhos (but there was never a big market for them?) or something else? but they were being marked before WWI as "Hawaiian Mandolins"
The problem with early central European instruments is, as well as a lack of information about the firms who made them, the instruments themselves are usually unbranded so I'm left with some illustrations from old catalogues that give makers names and photos of instruments that were made in the region but its not clear by whom? Any help would be good...

The Ukuleles and Banjoleles illustrated on this page are ones that were, (probably, some of them may have been made in the UK? But UK makers marked their Banjoleles, so why not their Ukuleles?) made in the region, and I may even hazard a guess at the maker, but I'm not sure. One thing though is if the instrument says Schutzmarke or Schutz Marke, this I believe, means Protected Trademark, it is not who made it, (and the trade mark might be an icon or picture rather than something written?)

A lot of the Banjoleles here look very similar to, usually unbranded, ones attributed to some of the big Chicago makers, (sometimes called Sears and Roebuck $1.25 Models). All of the pictures in this section are of instruments found in Europe:-
  • I know from catalogues that German makers were making this standard of Banjolele.
  • I know that British Banjo makers were not.
  • I know that the Chicago makers weren't really exporting to Europe, (or there would be a lot more US ukuleles from the period here)
  • I know that there was some export from Germany to the US at this time.
  • Therefore it's not a case of, were these Banjoleles made by Regal or Harmony? But were the ones attributed to Regal and Harmony actually made in Germany?

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