Henry C. Dobson 5 String Banjo , c. 1867

Henry C. Dobson  5 String Banjo ,  c. 1867

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Item # 1411
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Henry C. Dobson 5 String Banjo, c. 1867, made in New York, natural varnish finish.

Shortly after the Civil War, when this instrument was built, banjo evolution had not progressed much beyond the days of the tacked-head banjos of the 1840's and 50's. For the era in which it was built, this is an incredibly futuristic banjo.

It is a resonated, top tension instrument with a fretted neck. The overall design is not unlike a 1920's Vegavox: the rim is fitted into a closed-back resonator and 22 screws are used to tension a wooden hoop from the top.

This instrument conforms to Henry C. Dobson's 1867 patent #66810, dating it to sometime before his further patented developments beginning in 1873. The patent date and Dobson's name are impressed on the side of the neck heel.
 
Overall length is 36 in. (91.4 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) diameter resonator, and 2 3/8 in. (6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 26 1/2 in. (673 mm.).

While overall extremely well-preserved, this banjo is not set up to play, carrying an ancient (possibly original, certainly period) skin head and later gut strings. Fully original except possibly the tail piece and tuners, which are old but not completely matched wooden violin-style pegs.

This banjo is currently in as found condition suitable for display in a museum or collection. Original Artifact. Unrestored Condition.