The Wizard Banjo Ukulele
instrument was featured recently for sale on a Ukulele web site.
There were a lot of unmarked American banjos that were sold by department stores, catalogue sales outlets, etc. Some were marked by the retailers. I believe that Wizard was a mark of Montgomery Ward, but
can't swear to it.
Almost all of these were made by Rettburg and Lange, in the Buckbee plant which they bought in 1897.They also made more well known instruments - Lange, Paramount, Orpheum, Bruno and others in the same plant.
I got this info from Joe Bethancourt's site in an article called "An Encapsulated History of Classic Banjo Manufacturers" If you run a search for his site, it will be under the "Miscellany" section. It has serial number lists for many American makers. There is also a large section on British banjo makers.
My grateful thanks to Glen Simpson, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for the above information
Howdy Dennis...I think you are mis-identifying this
instrument....the marquetry on the 8" pot, hardware and peghead shape
is identical to an instrument I own that is decal-labelled on the peghead
"Clarion". George Gruhn (from whom I bought it) thinks it was
made by the Regal Company of Chicago, IL ca 1930, and this uke was
commonly sold by department stores with various peghead labels including
Washington, Wizard, Clarion, Belltone, et al. I have also seen many pots
with this marquetry, also ascribed to Regal. They are 5-7 ply maple
laminate, and of moderate quality. (I mated an 11" pot with a
mandolin neck to produce a Banjo-Taropatch, a monstrosity that may be
unprecedented, but sounds good!!). The resonator may not be original...it
is stamped on the metal flange "Elton", who were pre-war
manufacturers of banjo hardware. My resonator is mahogany, while I see
that the instrument on your site is Birdseye maple. The dowel stick
(perchpole?) has the same damage as mine, obviously from
Home Page or Instrument List