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Chicago c.1960 Image Credit 12/5/19: Now expanded to include manufacturers outside of Chicago. About This list is the culmination ...

20th Century Guitar Brand Names and Aliases

Chicago c.1960
Image Credit

12/5/19:
Now expanded to include manufacturers outside of Chicago.

About
This list is the culmination of my research into the brand names that hundreds of guitars were sold under during the early and mid 1900s. I am focusing exclusively on American-built instruments with a focus on the Chicago manufacturers but will also include other American manufacturers as I see fit.

Sources would be a mile long and most of this information was gathered as I come across listings on various marketplaces or encounter guitars in person. So I do not have sources or pictures for many of the instruments that I have documented, unfortunately, but feel free to send me pictures of your instrument if you are unsure about its origin or want to add another manufacturer to the list.

Special credit to JediStar and Jake Wildwood as their websites have served as great references. Also Reverb and Ebay for having such a variety of instruments for me to scour for new brand names


Brand
Distributor
Built By
Years Active
Kay
Harmony
Regal
United
Other
A. Rogers
Selmer UK
Y
1940s
Airline
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
1958-1968
Alden
Aldens
Y
1960s
Aloha
Y
1930s
Ambassador
Y
Y
1930s
Amplificator
Y
1960s
Apollo
St Louis Music
Y
1930s
Arch Kraft
Vitak-Elsnic Co
Y
1933-1937
Armstrong
Y
1940s
Barclay
Unity Buying Service
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
Beltone
Sorkin Music Co
Y
1950s
Biltmore
Vitak-Elsnic
Y
1930s-1940s
Black Jack
Y
1950s-60s
Broman
Broman
Y
1941-?
Bruno
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Buckeye
Y
1950s
Carelli
Y
Catalina
Abercrombie and Fitch
Y
1950s-1960s
Chimes
Y
Possible
1950s
Columbian
Selmer UK
Y
Commander
Aldens
Y
Continental
Continental Music Company
Y
1929-late 1940s
Coronado
Gamble-Skogmo
Y
1960s
Crest
Sears
Y
Y
Late 1930s
Custom Kraft
St Louis Music Co
Y
Y
1930s-1968
Del Oro
Spiegel
Y
?
1940s
Dynamic
Y
1950s
Elitone
Y
1950s
El Rancho
Sorkin Music Co
Y
Late 1950s
Encore
Y
Y
1940s-1950s
Epitome
Federated Teachers Service Corp.
Y
Y
1940s
Esquire
Selmer Indiana
Y
Y
1938
Fascinator
Tonk Brothers
Y
1930s
Fender
Fender Musical Instruments
Y
1970s
Fischer
Carl Fischer Catalog
Y
Y
1929-1936
1950s
Franklin
Franklin Music House
Y
1930s
Futuramic
Y
1950s
Gagliano
Y
Y
Galaxy
Y
1960s
Galiano
Y
Y
Y
Gaylord
Y
1940s
G. B. Walters
Y
1930s-1950s
Gondolier
Y
1930s
Gregory’s
Gregory’s Music Center in
Plainfield, New Jersey
Y
1950s
Gretsch
Gretsch
Y
Late 1940s
Groehsl
Y
1918-1921
Heath
Heathkit
Y
1960s
Henson
Y
1940s
Holiday
Aldens
Y
Y
1960s
Hollywood
Schireson Brothers
Y
1933
Howard
Y
1950s
Jay Johnson
Y
Kamico
Kay
Y
1947-1951
Kay Kraft
Kay
Y
1927-1937
Kaywood
Kay
Y
1934
Kenmore
Sears?
Y
1930s
Kleartone
Grossman Brothers
Y
1930s
Kord
Y
1940s
Lark Jr
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Lee Gibbs / Concertone
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
1914-1930s
Liberty
Continental Music Co
Y
War time 1940s
Lombardi
Y
1930s-1940s
Lyra
Y
1940s-1950s
Manhattan
Selmer Indiana
Y
1938-1940
Marathon
Southland Musical Merchandise Co
Y
1950-1960s
Marvel
Peter Sorkin Co
Y
Y
1940s-1970s
Marveltone
Y
Y
Y
1930s-1960s
Marwin
Barth-Feinberg
Y
Possible
1940s-1950s
Master Art
Y
Mayflower
Stromberg-Voisinet
Y
1920s
McKinney
Y
Melody King
Bronson Music Co
Y
Y
1931-?
Minerva
Eaton’s Canada
Y
Mitchel
Y
1950s
Montclair
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
Nobility
Y
1930s-1940s
Oahu
Oahu Publishing Company
Y
Y
1927-1938
Old Kraftsman
Spiegel
Y
1942-1960s
Opus
Harmony
Y
1974-1975
Orpheum
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Orpheus
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Paramount
William Lange Banjo Co
Y
Y
Penn
Pennino Music Co.
Y
1950s
Penncrest
JCPenney
Y
1950s-1960s
Playtime
Sears
Y
Y
1940s
Prairie Voice
The Calgary Stampede
Y
Premier
Peter Sorkin Music Co
Y
Y
Y
1950s
Radiotone
Dallas Musical Instruments
Y
1930s
Recording King
Y
1940s
Regal
Y
Y
Y
Rex
Gretsch Catalog (1948)
Y
Y
1930s-1940s
Rhapsody
Y
Ridgmount
Dallas Musical Instruments
Y
1930s
Rotary DeLuxe
Rotary Club
Y
Y
1930s
Royalist
RCA Victor
Y
1950s
Serenader
Buegeleisen and Jacobson
Y
Y
S. S. Maxwell
Y
Y
1930s
Sherwood
Montgomery Ward
Y
1940s-1960s
Sierra
Y
Silvertone
Sears
Y
Y
Y
Sonata
Y
Y
1940s
Stadium
Y
Y
1940s-50s
Stella
Harmony
Y
1940s-50s
S. S. Stewart
Buegeleisen and Jacobson
Y
Y
1930s-1950s
Sterling
Tonk Brothers
Y
1930s
Stromberg
Y
1921-1932
Superior
Y
1950s
Supertone
Sears
Y
Y
1914-1941
Suprema
Eaton’s Canada
Y
Y
1930s
Supro
Valco
Y
1968-9
Sylvia
Y
1960s
Telleno
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
Tempo
Y
1950s-1960s
Tone King
Y
Tower
Y
Truetone
Western Auto
Y
Y
1950s-1960s
US Strad
Y
1940s
Valencia
Harmony
Y
1940s
Vaquero
Spiegel
Y
1936-1938
Vega
Y
1960s
Vibratone
St Louis Music Co
Y
Y
1940s
Vita Uke
Y
Wabash
David Wexler Company
Y
1947-?
Ward
Montgomery Ward
Y
1925-1961
Webster
Y
Y
1940s-1950s
Weymann
Y
Windsor
Montgomery Ward
Y
Y
1930s
Wizard
Y
Zenith
Dallas Musical Instruments
Y
1930s

2 comments:

  1. The research is a little flawed as there were a number of other large Chicago Makers before WWII like Globe Music and Richter Mfg. Co. and not only does this not mention them but in some cases erroneously attributes instruments made buy them to the firms in the list. It also attributes some instruments made by the New York/New Jersey makers here too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feel free to point out any corrections that you see fit. I mainly focus on the 3 big Chicago manufacturers and my list just points out whether I've seen or heard of instruments being branded under a certain name and built by that manufacturer.

      Delete

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