Trawling through the online version of the Music Trade Review from the 1890s and early 1900s I have come across ads for The American Lute, an unusual bowlback mandolin marketed around 1903-4 by Clarence Partee, at that time publisher of The Cadenza. These instruments were based on a patent no. 734802 granted to George Blair of Spokane WA which has the usual bewildering claims of tonal improvement based on dubious scientific principals.
There seems to be little information on these instruments and I am wondering if anyone has actually seen one, or better yet owns one. I suspect they were not a commercial success, but there must have been a few made at least.
Also, does anyone know if The Cadenza is available as an on-line resource? I don't think any library on this side of the Pacific has them and access to a set would help the researches greatly.