The Bacon Banjo Company was established in 1906 by Fred J. Bacon, a well known banjo player. During his early days in business his banjos were built by other companies, including the well known Fairbanks Banjo Company. Bacon's company was located in Forest Dale, Vermont.
In 1920 Bacon relocated to Groton, Connecticut, and two years later he was joined by David L. Day, formerly of the Vega Company. Shortly thereafter the company started manufacturing banjos under the B&D name in addition to the Bacon line. Their "Silver Bell" models are considered among the best banjos produced during the 1920s and 1930s
A 1923 business directory lists the Bacon Banjo Mfg. Co. at 169 Thames Street, in Groton.
The company's 1924 catalog listed Style No. 1 and Style No. 2 Bacon banjo ukuleles. Both models were openbacks. In the 1926 catalog the No. 1, with mahogany neck and 8" rim, was priced $27.00, while the No. 2 had a curly maple neck and was $50.00. A Style No. 3 "same as No. 2 with Tone Amplifier Chamber" (resonator) was offered for $75.00.
In 1928 the prices changed somewhat. The No. 1 remained $27.00. A Style No. 1A, which was the same as the No. 1 but with resonator, was $35.00. Also offered was a Style No. 2A; priced $55.00, it was the same as the No. 2, but with resonator.
B&D Silver Bell banjo ukes were produced during the mid to late 1920s by Bacon. However, this was probably done by special order only. Certainly very few of them were made. The 1928 catalog does note that "several sales of the gold plated and engraved $250.00 models were made during the past season."
CLICK HERE to see a 1925 and a 1926 Bacon No. 2
CLICK HERE to see a 1924 Silver Bell Custom
CLICK HERE to see a 1927 Silver Bell No. 3A
CLICK HERE to see a 1927 Silver Bell No. 3A with gold plated parts and a knee mute.
Gretsch started manufacturing banjos for Bacon in the late 1930s. Bacon was purchased by Gretsch circa 1940.
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