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Windsor continued ....


Unlike other manufactures of the day, every part of the instruments made by Windsor & Taylor were fashioned in the Newhall Street factory, including all the metal parts used.  The latter were always 'non-standard' so that a replacement could only be purchased from them.


 1896 the firm published a 50-page booklet How a Zither-Banjo is Made.  Given away free of charge it helped sell the instruments which were already a household name.


In 1901, Taylor left the firm and then the title became Arthur O. Windsor.  He had a stand at the British Industries Fair, White City, London, which was most impressive and did much to make the Windsor products known to overseas buyers.  In 1928 Windsor brought out his famous 'hollow arm' zither-banjo with its revolutionary resonator-type back.


Windsor made instruments for other firms and would copy any design or model. They also supplied many of their cheaper stock instruments branded with the retailer's name as maker.


 The firms range of banjos, zither-banjos, banjolins and mandolin-banjos was wide because,  they offered a large discount on catalogue  prices, their lower-priced instruments became known in the trade as 'pawnshop banjos'.  These instruments could always be found in pawnshops throughout the country where they would be offered for sale for as much as 50%, below the catalogue price.  


The firm ceased to exist in December 1940, two years after Windsor had died,  when the factory was destroyed in a Luftwaffe air raid.  Up to that time Windsor was probably the largest maker of fretted instruments ever known in this country. The output of the Newhall Street factory in Birmingham must have been into many thousands of instruments each year.

Arthur O Windsor .. part 2

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