It is currently Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:33 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: W.A. Cole Banjo Maker
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:05 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:32 am
Posts: 1682
Location: Either NC, Co. Clare, or Freiburg i.B., depending...
Hi All,

There has been a lively discussion taking place, on and off the Chiffboard, about W.A. Cole and his banjos. There seems to be a lack of general knowledge about these fine banjos, which certainly have a lower profile than the more commonly seen offerings from Fairbanks, Vega, and other better-known makers. That said, there are some good online resources for learning more about these under-appreciated banjos.

First and foremost, Mike Holmes, whose Mugwumps website has long been a clearing-house of information on obscure banjos, has an excellent page on W.A Cole. Resources include model descriptions, photos of dowel stick stamps and pearl inlays, patent documents, and serial numbers, all viewable here:

Collector Bill Destler has good photos of several Cole banjos in his possession, viewable here (scroll down to the Cole section):

Finally, Vintage Guitar Magazine did an excellent essay on a Cole's Eclipse Pro Special, which includes a good description of the Eclipse tonering, which was present only on W.A. Cole's high-end banjos. Article here:

There are other resources available, but these are three of the best. Cole's banjos were made in several different models, featuring a bewildering range of inlay options. Complicating identification of individual banjos is the fact that the O. Ditson company, a Boston instrument distributor, apparently used different names for Cole's banjos than did Cole himself.

Essentially, though, the banjos boil down to two categories: Eclipse and non-Eclipse. The Eclipse tonering was one of Cole's three patents and consisted of a square ring with upward-facing pins, which in turn supported a round ring which contacted the skin head. The finest banjos from W.A. Cole feature this tonering, though he did make many less-expensive banjos without this tonering. Most if not all Eclipse banjos will be stamped "Cole's Eclipse" on the dowel stick.

I leave you with a photo of a gorgeous Cole's Eclipse openback 5-string. Enjoy!



The Monaghan Jig

Casey Comes Back / Gretchen's Wedding

Craicdown's YouTube Channel

Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.068s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]