Hawaiian Makers from the early days to WWII click for more

x
Some photos courtesy of
Legendary Ukuleles.com
Hawaiian News Company branded Soprano Ukulele
Hawaiian News Co. Soprano
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!)

Antone Abrew

His last name may have also been spelled Abreo or Abreu. He was building in Maui around 1900 to 1920 and appears to be the earliest builder on Maui. He appears to have moved to Oahu after this. US Census records say that Abreo was illiterate so he did not write any of the comments on his sound hole labels.
Thanks to Ryan Guetersloh for the information

Hawaiian News Company

This was a major publisher in Hawaii, incorporated in 1891 and becoming the Hawaiian Paper Company in 1925. In the intervening years as well as publishing, and it was the company that published a lot of the early Hawaiian music and Ukulele playing manuals from people like Ernest Ka'ai, it also go involved with publicising branding, and distributing early Ukuleles. I have heard that it purchased the last of Jose do Espirito Santo stock from his widow after his death in 1905, had them finished and then sold them on as Hawaiian News Co. branded instruments.

click for more

Please contact me if you have any information or pictures that would improve the page

contact Web Administrator if you think your copyright has been infringed