The S. S. Stewart company was established in the late 1870s by Samuel Swain Stewart, a young man who had run a music store in Philadelphia prior to that time. Stewart also produced banjos under the Acme name, and these were sold by Sears. By the time of his death in 1898, at the age of 43, Stewart had manufactured thousands of banjos, ranging from plain, inexpensive models to the extremely fancy presentation models so sought after by today's collectors.
After his death his partrner, George Bauer, continued to manufacture banjos under the Stewart name for several years. Stewart's son, Fred, also produced some banjos for a short period of time. By the banjo ukulele era, the Stewart company no longer existed. According to Mike Holmes, in 1915 Buegeleisen & Jacobson (see Bee Jay) purchased the Stewart name. Banjo ukes (and other instruments) bearing the S. S. Stewart name were produced by various companies, including Gibson and Lange, well into the 1930s.
"S. S. Stewart Collegian" is found on the dowel stick of banjo ukes. Possibly they were made by Slingerland. "S. S. Stewart University" appears on the dowel stick of banjo ukes, with a star inlaid in the peghead. And, I have also seen "S. S. Stewart Phila. PA." stamped on the dowel stick of banjo ukes that also have a fancy decal label reading "S. S. Stewart Philadelphia, Pa." on the back of the peghead.
Most banjo ukes marked with the S. S. Stewart name that I have seen are plain, inexpensive openback instruments. The one pictured below is an interesting exception. Featuring a greenish blue finish, with the Stewart name on the back of the peghead, it has a resonator and flange.
To return to the home page, Click Here