Wilkes Banjo

An early 20thc by F C Wilks.5-6 string banjo. This is an unusual example ( special order ?) with two fifth octave strings.  One goes through a tube to the top the other a peg to the side. Presumably tuned in unison. Tuned as a five string but with a spare tuner on the peg-head .Bone ended tuners to the headstock. In good general condition and plays. Some wear to the plating on the pot. With the correct name plate to the perch pole (worn) and branded inside to the wooden back. 10 inch vellum head. £225  

 

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In 1894 ,Frank Cecil Wilkes, of , Manchester, took out a patent involving a banjo with a "hole in the vellum" and started manufacture both banjos and zither banjos incorporating this feature; the aperture being surrounded by a celluloid ring to retain rigidity of the skin. His banjos were made with hoops of 9" or 10" diameter with the back of the hoop enclosed by a rosewood soundboard.  He appears to have gone out of business during the first world war