Mather Five-String Fretless Banjo
This banjo is marked "F. P. Mather 1860." It is a Five-String Fretless Banjo, with a bird’s-eye maple shell, metal hoop, twenty brackets, brass-plated fingerboard, and machine tuners. Hand-written inscription on dowel stick:
F. MATHER MAKER 1860
Fred Mather was a well-known minstrel banjoist of the mid-19th century.
Like banjos marketed under the name of other well-known performers such as the Dobsons, this instrument was likely actually made in the New York factory of the Buckbee company. It is typical of mid-century commercial instruments in having a fretless neck, gut strings and a bentwood rim. The machine tuners and inlaid brass plate are probably later 19th century additions, along with the present arrangement of head-tightening brackets.
- Currently not on view
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
- Mather, Fred P.
- date made
- Credit Line
- Gift of Estate of Fred P. Mather through Adelaide Mather
- Physical Description
- wood (overall material)
- metal (overall material)
- animal skin (overall material)
- overall: 34 in x 12 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 86.36 cm x 31.115 cm x 8.89 cm
- Object Name