Saturday, April 18, 2009

Skeletons from The Closet

Why is Ukulelia the World's Greatest Weblog? This kinda stuff.

In poking around this morning I found a few interesting items in Google Book Search. First, meet Morris Rothman of Bayonne, NJ, who patented this neato combination walking cane and ukulele. Anyone ever played one?

Next up, sneak a peek at Miss Una Fleming of Los Angeles, CA and her 5-foot ukelele (sic). Also on this and adjacent pages, check out the "Singing Cocoanuts," "Banjochestrion" (a combo banjo, piano, guitar, harp, and mandolin), and "Luminaphone" (an instrument that produces music by beams of light, invented by Harry Grindell Matthews, inventor of the Death Ray!). Scroll up a page and "Look Out, Boys, for the Electric Spanker!

Also, wanna make a nifty cigar box uke? Have at it! (h/t to King David Ukulele Station)

On the serious side, here's an article from the December, 1919 issue of The Wood-Worker spotlighting the ukulele factory of Frank Bremmerman of Indianapolis, IN. 120 ukuleles a day! (Here's a video of latter day Hoosier Geoff Davis playing one of Mr. Bremmerman's ukes.)

4 comments:

Geoff Davis said...

The photos from the Bremerman article ran in the Indianapolis Star at about the same time. The online photos are so much better than the microfilm copies that I have. Frank was one hell of a guy! He built homes and commercial buildings, was considered one of the cities finest guitar players, built guitars and ukuleles, designed and raced cars and hydroplanes (one is featured in the movie "Madison") and was building and marketing raios from the beginning of the industry. He died in 1930 and is little remembered.

Thanks for the article and link to my video!

Geoff

Anonymous said...

I liked the picture of the lady with the "5" foot ukulele that looks 10 feet long, but there is a reason I play the ukulele and not the tuba anymore. Size does matter!
Hey Geoff- what did a Bremerman label or uke look like?
Ukester Brown

Geoff Davis said...

I've two Bremerman ukes. The first has a yellow label "Frank Bremerman and Sons, Indianapolis". It's striped koa with celluloid bindings and a unique hawaiian style headstock.

The one that I play in the video is mahogany and is not labeled. The identifier was a headstock identical to the labeled uke.

Both are great little ukes. I had the honor of building a replica for Frank's grand daughter.

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