Fred Gretsch Mfg Co was formed by Friedrich Gretsch at the age of 27 when
he left his job of working for the drum and banjo makers Albert Houdlet
& Son, of Brooklyn, NY.
With a few workmen he opened a small shop at 128 Middleton Street,
Brooklyn and manufactured drums, banjos and tambourines. Fred Gretsch died
on 1895 when his firm had but a dozen employees, and was housed in a
wooden building in South 4th Street, Brooklyn.
Within 5 years, his son Fred (the eldest of Fred Sr's 7 children) had
impressively altered the firms operations to include the making of
mandolins, (then popular in the States) and, in addition, the importation
of most musical instruments and their various accessories.
They also had acquired impressive factory premises at 104 Middle Street
which were vacated in 1916 for the mammoth 10 story office and factory
building at 60 Broadway, Brooklyn, which is still (1972) the home of The
Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co.
They were making and advertising banjos from about 1870 and in
1902introduced 'Daynor" banjos, each of which had a hole in the
After World War 1 they made a range of banjos which the trade name
and these were being advertised well into the 1920s. By 1928 their
range of banjos had been extended, for the company was by then advertising
their "Gretsch", "Clarophone" and Orchestrekka"
models in addition the still popular "Rex" range.
In addition to this, they were making banjos for sale under many other
brand names, notably Wurlitzer and Bruno.
In March 1940, the company acquired the Bacon Banjo Company of Croton,
Conn., and the post-war "B&D" range of banjos has been made
in their factory and sold by them.
This Banjo Ukulele is of sound construction and has a
My grateful thanks to John Clough, Vensac, France
for the above information