Supertone Soprano Ukulele, made by Harmony , c. 1920

Supertone Soprano Ukulele, made by Harmony ,  c. 1920
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Item # 8941
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Supertone Model Soprano Ukulele, made by Harmony, c. 1920, made in Chicago, natural finish, mahogany body, poplar neck, original canvas soft shell case.

This is a very nice example of an early mainland-built "Hawaiian" style ukulele, a very popular item about 100 years ago. This one was labeled and sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. under their "Supertone" brand and made for them by Harmony, a company they had recently purchased for the express purpose of getting inexpensive ukes and guitars to market. This uke is labeled with a guarantee from Sears stating it comprises "the best materials and workmanship and tone that is possible for the price" and it has lasted pretty well for about 100 years, so we can't really argue with that!

The grained mahogany body (which looks somewhat like Hawaiian Koa wood) is bound with alternating wood trim in the Hawaiian manner on the top and sound hole ring and the back is slightly arched, features typical of actual Hawaiian instruments. The pegs are early Champion brand with black composite buttons. This style of ukulele was made in Chicago in large numbers by Harmony, Regal, Slingerland, and others in the late 'teens and early 'twenties and sold through mail order catalogs, music stores, and retail outlets around the country during the first part of the "Uke Craze" of the '20s.
 
Overall length is 20 1/2 in. (52.1 cm.), 6 in. (15.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 13 in. (330 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/16 in. (36 mm.).

This uke shows minor wear, mostly finish scraping on the sides from contact with the case, but appears played very little since new. The workmanship is not the neatest but they made a LOT of these about a century back and few have survived as nicely as this one. It actually plays very well and sounds nice, and the original canvas case is still largely intact. A nice playable piece of history, and a surprisingly nice uke considering its budget origins. Excellent Condition.