In the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC there is a banjo made by Fred Mather of New York City, in 1860.
It has incised lines on the fingerboard to indicate frets with lettering at the frets giving the names of the notes to be found there. The instrument is fitted with machine heads with a single one fitted at the side of the neck for the fifth string. The hoop is fitted with twenty brackets .
Nothing else is known of Fred Mather and it is not known if he was a commercial maker or not.
Do you have a pre 1940's banjo by this maker? can you supply us some images?