Joseph Wallis a flute maker founded his company in 1848 and it initially grew making woodwind and brass instruments. They were a significant contributor to the manufacture and distribution of musical instruments from the middle of the 19th C. Widely known for pianos, organs and harmoniums, found and retailed all over the empire, wood wind, brass and subsequently, as fashions demanded, zither and banjo-mandolins (or mandolines) banjos' imported from th USA and zithers.
Typical of the period his company moved into the centre of London as it grew, initially from Providence Street in Walworth to 6 Union St., Borough SE London and then to 133-35 Euston Road in 1867. Initially they were making components such as reeds, friction pegs and manufacturing flutes.
The company won medals at the 1885 London Exhibition for a "cheap and good cottage harmonium "and about that time were importing either Banjos or Banjo parts (and assembling them) from JH Buckbee in New York. He was still listed as a banjo/multiple musical instrument maker out of the same address in 1915.
6 or 7 string banjos were specifically made for the English market and are rarely seen it the USA. The originally gut strung example below clearly shows the “JHB” of Buckbee and includes the "Guaranteed American Made" impression on the dowel stick.
Early in the 20th C they bought in and distributed a range of mandolin-banjos and "Mandolines" from UK makers exhibiting characteristics of London makers like Dallas.
Images courtesy of Maurice Benton and the Saleroom.
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