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The Music Trade Review Dec. 13, 1924 Image Source About The Waverly Musical Products Company was one of the largest producers of met...

Waverly Musical Products Company


The Music Trade Review Dec. 13, 1924
Image Source

About

The Waverly Musical Products Company was one of the largest producers of metal products and accessories for stringed instruments during the 20th Century. They supplied their products to nearly everyone from the budget instruments like Harmony and Kay to the renowned brands of Martin, Epiphone, and Gibson.

They were established in July, 1919 as the Waverly Novelty Co and had their main office and showroom in the Canadian Pacific building located at 342 Madison Avenue in New York City. Their factory was located at 71-73 10th Street in Long Island, New York [2]. The company was incorporated as Waverly Musical Products Co Inc in 1922 which would be its name going forward [5].

In 1922 the business was staffed by
  • President - Richard Condon
  • Vice President - Albert K. Trout
  • Treasurer - Henry C. Lomb.
  • Secretary - Henry Klein
In the 1970s, the company was put up for sale by Mr. Lomb, who was a descendant of the original founders, and the company ceased to exist as of 1981 [3][5]. It was then purchased by Stewart-MacDonald and reestablished in Bozeman, Montana in 1989 where they began production of guitar parts up until 2004 [2]. Stew-Mac continues to produce parts under the Waverly name and I believe the company has been relocated to Athens, Ohio with Stew-Mac.

Products

The Music Trades Sep 29, 1929
Image Source
Waverly tuners are the easiest to identify but many of their other products remain shrouded in mystery because of the lack of identifying stamps and source material like catalogs. If anyone locates an original Waverly catalog, I would be very much interested in purchasing and digitizing it.
No. 1674 Waverly covered banjo tailpiece
1927 ad [7]

Waverly banjo accessories
Hoops, brackets, nuts, screws, tailpices, etc
[4]

Tuning forks, resonators, tambourine jingles, Hawaiian steels
1926 ad [6]





In 1924, Waverly became a distributor for TrueSolo brand strings which were built by the Standard Musical String Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York [8]. According to a 1926 issue of the Music Trade Review, Waverly also produced fretwire [4].

Tuner Identification

Waverly tuners are often identified by their 3x3 plate tuners which have squared off ends and are relatively plain looking. They then expanded to adding a tiny "nub" or "bell" to the end of their plates which became larger and eventually became an identifying feature of many Waverly tuners. Some of the single unit tuners (not attached to a large plate) have a "scalloped" end which resembles a simple flower. Many tuners have a plain etching pattern in two lines down the length of the tuners.

They are also easily distinguished from Klusons by the worm shaft (the rod that the plastic button attaches to and turns the tuning post). The worm shaft brackets are "straight" and mount perpendicular to the shaft while Kluson patented "bent tab" worm shaft mounts which were hailed as being a better design and being more stable.

Some Waverly tuners will need new buttons due to old ones that have crumbled but it is not nearly as pervasive of an issue as it is with old Kluson tuners.

1930s "Square Plate" Waverly tuners
with small black buttons
1950s "Square Plate" Waverly tuners with
regular sized buttons
1930s(?) Waverly "Etched - Square Plate" tuners
with "Product & Process Patents Applied For"
stamped on the reverse side
1960s Waverly "Etched - Bell End" tuners

1930s Waverly "Bent Tab" tuners
Note that the worm shaft mounts are not stamped on
but are actually part of the plate that has been bent

1940s Waverly "Small Bell" tuners
1940s Waverly "Etched - Scalloped" single unit tuners
Image Credit: Reverb - Copper Basin Guitars
1940s-50s Waverly "Diamond Back - Bell"
closed-back tuning machine
Image Credit: Reverb - Matt Umanov Guitars

Sources


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