Vega Tu-ba-phone Banjo
This banjo was made by the Vega Company in Boston, Massachusetts, around 1922. It is a Four-String Banjo, Tu-ba-phone Model No. 3, Serial #50232, with a patented brass top hoop and bracket band over a seven-lap sectional maple hoop, 28 brackets, mahogany neck with an ebony fingerboard with22 frets and inlaid pearloid dots and star position marks, carved heel, peghead with flowerpot inlay, Grover style tuners with ivoroid buttons. The dowel stick is stamped:
THE VEGA COMPANY
This banjo features the following patents:
U. S. Patent #443510 dated December 30, 1890, by Albert C. Fairbanks, for new and useful improvements in banjos.
U. S. Patent #489470 dated January 10, 1893, by Albert C. Fairbanks, for new and useful improvements in banjos.
U. S. Patent #928948 dated July 27, 1909, by David L. Day, assignor to the Vega Company, for an improved means for stretching and retaining the head of a banjo.
The Vega Company purchased the A. C. Fairbanks Company in 1904 and produced banjos of high quality largely based on earlier designs of Fairbanks. This Tu-ba-phone model incorporated a heavy “tone ring” originally patented by Fairbanks in 1890, a feature still favored by modern banjo players for the quality of tone it produces.
- Currently not on view
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
- Vega Company
- Date made
- date made
- ca 1922
- Credit Line
- Gift of Adam Gallan
- Physical Description
- maple (overall material)
- ebony (overall material)
- mahogany (overall material)
- metal (overall material)
- animal skin (overall material)
- overall: 37 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; 95.25 cm x 29.21 cm x 6.35 cm
- Object Name