Hawaiian Makers from the early days to WWII click for more

O.M. Tibbs
In researching the early period of Ukulele manufacture in Hawaii from 1890 to the Second World War, I come across a lot of referenced to small or short lived manufacturers some of whom were one man luthier shops, some tried to be big business but now there is not much to show from them beyond footnotes in someone else's biography or perhaps that dusty old Ukulele you find in the attic? If you look at the Ukulele Hall of Fame reference section you will see a number of Hawaiian Ukuleles from this period whose maker is "Unknown" perhaps they are examples for some of the people I have found reference to here?
(I should also note that some of these may actually be the brand names of Mainland makers who were pretending to be Hawaiian. After all this practice is what lead to the need for the Tabu mark, and if it was difficult to find out where the actual Ukulele was made then, it usually hasn't got any easier!)

Augusto Dias

Augusto Dias was one of the Madieran Cabinet Makers that came to Hawaii on the Ravenscraig and have been credited along with Manuel Nunes, Jose do Espirito Santo and Joao Fernandes, (he was the player, not one of the Makers), with "Inventing the Ukulele. He was the first the records show to have his own Guitar shop in 1884, but it burned down in 1900 and he didn't open again until 1904. He retired from Luthiery in 1910 and died in 1915. His Ukuleles are considered the rarest of the early makers and he was also the favourite maker of King David Kalakaua, He did make the 2 Ukuleles that are know to have belonged to the King and was apparently allowed to put the royal seal of Hawaii on his Ukuleles, (however none with the royal seal on are known to exist today)

Jose do Espirito Santo

Jose do Espirito Santo was another of the Madeiran Cabinet Makers that came to Hawaii on the Ravenscraig and have been credited with "Inventing the Ukulele. He set up as a luthier with his own Guitar shop in 1886 and he did make early Ukulele as well as some of the other Iberian precursor Chordophones. Whilst it is not possible to say who was the first, Santo was the first to specifically advertise Ukuleles for sale in 1898. he died in 1905

O.M. Tibbs

This is an early Hawaiian maker I have no information on apart from having seen examples credited to him. Sadly this is the case with a number of the early makers.

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