Tonk Bros. Co.

Located in Chicago, Illinois, Tonk Bros. was a major distributor of musical instruments. The company, which was established in the 1890s, carried a vast array of merchandise, ranging from inexpensive student instruments to expensive brand names. In 1929 their sales totaled a million dollars, and they were, according to their advertisements, the "World's Largest Exclusive Wholesalers of Musical Merchandise."

In 1930 the company issued an impressive 240-page hardbound catalog, which even included color plates of violins. Reproduced below and on the next page are two pages which relate to banjo ukuleles and two of accessories and cases. Interestingly, their next catalog, issued two years later and also hardbound, only had one page of banjo ukes and the prices were significantly lower. The Depression, combined with a declining popularity for the instrument, were probably both factors.

 

Click Here to see two more pages from the 1930 Tonk Bros. catalog.

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