US Small Importers/Manufacturers/Distributors post WWII click for more

Stetson Baritone Ukulele circa 1956
Stetson Baritone
The war, and subsequent occupation in the Pacific meant a lot of US servicemen travelled to or from the conflict via Hawaii, and often picked up a Ukulele somewhere along the way. Given its portability and the remembered childhood popularity they also often learned to play them and when they came home after the war this led to the second wave of popularity for the Ukulele, (but not in Europe as they were less involved in the Pacific war). With the rise in popularity and the rise in far eastern manufacture this meant there was a business opportunity for a lot of small companies either making, or more often importing and distributing Ukuleles. Some of these companies didn't last long and often there is not a lot of information on them beyond names on the headstocks.

Stadium

This is a bit of a mystery brand to me. There is some information on it but most of it is incomplete and sometimes conflicting, but I'll start with what I know for sure. This has nothing to do with the Stadium Guitars of today - this is a Korean/Chinese brand founded in 1991. I have seen a number of chordophones branded Stadium; Guitars, Mandolins. Banjos, Tenor Guitars and Ukuleles. Most date post WWII up to around the 1970's, some though, particular the Regal made Resonator Guitars may date from the 1930's? I have seen quite a few different headstock logos for Stadium, ranging from the very simple stencil logo and ornate decals and plaques but I couldn't put these logos in chronological order from the instruments they appeared on? It is possible that more than one firm used the name over the years, (but I have no firm information on any of them?) I have seen it suggested it was a Regal brand name but the branding appears to have outlasted Regal, (also a lot of the Banjos were made by Kay), plus one of the logos say "Stadium New York". It is almost certainly a US distributor brand, possibly from New York, (probably not the same people as those who distributed Strad-o-lin as the Mandolin players suggest), but any firm information would be welcome

Stetson

I've not found a lot out about this brand, so if any can help with information please contact me. They must have existed pre WW2 for the Larson Brothers to build Guitars for them, and clearly must have been dealing in top quality instruments. This is probably the same firm continuing into the 1960's but I can find no start of end dates and they don't appear to exist now.. Everything I have seen says a lot, but not all, of their Ukuleles were rebranded Martins? They weren't, Martin keep good records as to who they made instruments for and they don't feature. it is possible they rebranded something like K. Yasuma instruments? A number of makers have tried to copy Martin over the years with varying degrees of success. From the picture this is not one of the common rebrand Baritone Ukulele you see from this period though.
This is nothing the do with luthier Craig Sullivan and his use of Stetson as branding though

Telleno

Another brand with little information I'm afraid. Clearly a distributor name, (and I have seen Guitars branded Telleno too), the Baritone is one of the mystery one but the Soprano is much more recent, probably post 2000, so it is possible they are still going? I just can't find anything on them

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