1898 was a good year


... except Samuel S Stewart was not a well man. He had led the progress of the 5 string banjo to its peak, both as a piece of well-developed engineering and a work of art, which was also accepted across the social spectrum as a versatile instrument.

He had replaced the paddle peg head with a design that was to be copied by all the best makers from Washburn and Luscomb in the US to Dallas and Essex in the UK.

The art of heel carving had reached its peak reflecting the developing art nouveau style of the period without being superfluous, and the quality of inlay work perhaps bettered in Boston, but marginally, were his legacy .. as after he died the quality could not be maintained and the business faltered.

The Stewart Clan of 1898 included the 20th Century, Special Thoroughbred and Banjeaurine.