View Full Version : Mayflower and Victoria

Feb-08-2004, 3:36am
The mandolin listings on ebay frequently include offerings under these trademarks, some of which look like they were quite pricey in their day (MOP and engraving galore). #Were these subsidiaries of larger companies? #Are any of them worth having?

Jim Garber
Feb-08-2004, 12:42pm
May Flower mandolins were built by Harry J. Flower c.1910 and Andrew Groehsl pre 1890 in Chicago, Illinois. The company name was later changed to Stromberg-Voisinet in 1921 and which later became Kay. According to Tom Wheeler the mandolins were supervised by C.G. Stronberg who was a vice president.

I believe that Victorias were sold by B&J (Bugeleisen and Jacobson) out of New York. I am not sure if they actually built them, tho. My theory is that many of the New York made bowlbacks were made for other companies by Luigi Ricca's company who, according to Mike Holmes of Mugwumps, had over 200 employees at one time.

Any corrections, additions, Eugene?


Feb-09-2004, 11:33am
I think that's about right. Victoria was a B&J brand and I believe they had some in-house production as well as commissioning their house brand from other shops. The Favilla Bros. shop is cited as producing a goodly chunk of B&J's instruments.

Bobby Marshall
Jun-24-2014, 7:12pm
I thought Harry Flower was a businessman, not a luthier, and those Mayflower (May Flower) mandolins were made in Italy by Antone Valletti and imported to the U.S. I only have done some research as I did happen to find a bowl back of this ilk.

Michael Weaver
Jun-24-2014, 8:14pm
Just getting ready to answer this but Jim just barely beat me....by 10 years and 4 months.

Jim Garber
Jun-25-2014, 9:36am
Sounds about right, Bobby. I stand corrected, tho it is interesting that I have never seen a mandolin labelled Antone Valletti coming out of Italy during that period. I have to look further into that.

Bobby Marshall
Jun-25-2014, 1:35pm
Jim, I had no idea this thread was this old or even how I found it in the first place. I must have been dreaming.

Jim, I have read several of your posts and they are great. I appreciate not being flamed by anyone for posting conflicting opinion with an established and very credible MC member. Another great musicians forum.

Jim Garber
Jun-25-2014, 1:45pm
I am always willing to listen to fact-based arguments that may conflict with my own beliefs. We can all learn from others here. That is what makes this place so great. I am certainly not the be-all or end-all for all knowledge about mandolins and I hope I don't represent myself as such.

Michael Weaver
Jun-25-2014, 1:49pm
Don't worry about posting to an old thread either. My comment was just me goofing around as usual.

Jim Garber
Jun-25-2014, 1:55pm
You are not the first one to do so. MC comes up first often on searches so people post and don't realize that the threads are old.

Jun-25-2014, 3:39pm
Sounds about right, Bobby. I stand corrected, tho it is interesting that I have never seen a mandolin labelled Antone Valletti coming out of Italy during that period. I have to look further into that.

The thing is, I've never seen a Mayflower mandolin that made me think it was actually made in Italy. (I haven't seen so many to imply that it couldn't be so....) Most details and hardware look much more US than Napoli or Sicilia. Not really sure what the Antone Valletti role was on these over time. Many Mayflowers I have seen look more Bostonoid than anything else.


Graham McDonald
Jun-25-2014, 5:48pm
The tricky thing about the MayFlower instruments is that there seems to at least two if not three distinct phases of the business. Jim's catalog suggests Valletti as the builder, but as Mick says the construction looks American. At the same time there is the Groeshl involvement when it would seem he was actively building instruments. I found mention in a Cadenza that Harry Flower had a music store and was well known in Chicago as a mandolin teacher, which would explain the manufacture of the mandolins, as the better known teachers/music store could aften get a run of instruments made with their own label. F.O.Gutman in Cincinatti did similar things in the 90s with his FOG brand instruments, none of which seem to have survived.



Rodney Riley
Jun-25-2014, 6:23pm

Father-in-law's Mayflower says Chi Town. :) Flower & Groehsl.

Bobby Marshall
Jun-26-2014, 12:20am
Seems Mr. Flower had to change his suppliers then. Mine clearly states Flower as US Agent - Naples, Italy. But you can't believe everything you read, and shouldn't.