.. His first commercial venture in 1859 was to open a shop in New York as a music retailer being an accomplished player of wind instruments and a leader of various bands and orchestras. During the civil war he was a supplier of field trumpets.
Stratton & John Foote joined forces in 1864 to buy an instrument importing business and then set up several companies in Germany to manufacture both woodwind and stringed instruments.
In 1883 he sold his factories and in 1889 went into partnership in the musical instrument business with Frank, his son as Stratton & Son. It is probably during this period that he sold banjos, almost certainly made for him by Buckbee, under the model names of Bijou and Appolo. These would have been gut strung banjos.
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