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Odd and Fun Things from the Past

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As some of you are aware, I spend a fair amount of my limited free time looking at old books, catalogs, city directories, etc... for my research into the history of the US steel pen industry.

Well, sometimes I come across funny things, like advertisements or newspaper articles that just catch my eye. I figured some of you are interested in old things, and even a few of you have a sense of humor as twisted as mine, so I thought I might share a few things from time to time.

Here's my first. It's an ad from 1884 for the first paddle and ball game.

The fanciest banjo I've ever seen. Stewart made many banjos, but this was their fanciest. This was $125 in 1880, about $3000 today.

Interestingly, before microphones and amplification, banjos were preferred for bands instead of guitars because they're louder. Banjos were, at one time, considered even a classical instrument and what we could call classical music today was written for banjo orchestras.

From an 1831 newspaper.

That marriage announcement reads like quite the burn on Mrs. Earnest!

That banjo is gorgeous!  What a showpiece.  I wonder if anyone found that model very practical to play, as none of that ornamentation is remotely necessary.  I'm fortunate enough to own a beautiful bowl back mandolin from the early 1900s, and truly, antique instruments are delightful to handle.  Thank you for sharing these!

Regards the banjo:  what's really unusual is the fact it's a 5 string, not the more common (at that time) four string. Most of the 4 strings go for well under $1000. With that carving, it may fetch more than 3K if it were for sale now.
Good for old-timey music, with that open back. Not so good imho for bluegrass.


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