Bacon Banjo Company, Inc., The
- Edmund J. Britt
Banjo manufacturer. It was founded in 1921 in Groton, Connecticut, by FRED BACON, a 5-string banjo performer, inventor, and publisher. The company is best known for the instruments developed after DAVID L. DAY, a veteran of the Fairbanks and Vega companies, joined Bacon’s firm in Sept 1922. Their flagship B&D Silver Bell, introduced in June 1923, is still considered one of the most desirable banjos of the Jazz Age. Day standardized Bacon’s quality control and further modularized banjo construction, so that any neck would fit any rim—with only minor adjustments. This allowed “just-in-time” assembly, to fill orders more efficiently.
During the 1920s the Silver Bell line was expanded with the lavish ebony and ivory “Ne Plus Ultra” models. Bacon’s endorsers included top stars of Vaudeville, dance orchestras, radio, and recordings: Ray “Montana” Coleman, Roy Smeck, Perry Bechtel, Eddie Connors, and many others. The Depression required the company to lower costs. The use of celluloid overlays increasingly replaced wood and pearl inlays. Notable 1930s models were the Senorita, Serenader, Sultana, Symphonie, and Montana....