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Thread: Washburn no. 1898 style E

  1. #1

    Default Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Hello there, looking for any information I can get about this mandolin and it's history. Its sort of a family heirloom, but I have always enjoyed it's sweet tone as well. Also, I'm looking to get it fixed up. The face has caved in a little and some of the binding has broken off over the years. If anyone knows of someone near Seattle who can do this kind of work I'd greatly appreciate the recommendation!

    Thanks in advance
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  3. #2
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Dusty Strings in Fremont may not be a bad place to start.
    https://store.dustystrings.com/t-1-repairs.aspx
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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Your best source for Washburn info is Hubert Pleijsier's book, Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles (Centerstream Press, 2008). There's a full description of the Style E on p. 157, but the included catalog pix show it as a two-point, rather than the "no-point" shape of yours. Your label is ID-ed as about 1925, on p.110. "1898" would be the serial number of the instrument; Washburn started a new series of serial numbers with "1" around 1922, and by 1929 had reached "mid 14,000's," which equates to about two thousand per year. That, of course, assumes sequential numbering, always a tricky assumption. Label says "1925," sequential numbering guesstimate says "1922-23" or so, safest assumption would be "early 1920's." Pleijsier includes the Style E in his section, "Mandolin Styles 1922-25," which concurs with that assumption.

    The question is why a non-two-point Washburn mandolin would be labeled a "Style E," but not fit the catalog description. Lots of possible reasons, such mis-labeling, early or late "prototype" or one-of model, inaccuracy of catalog description. I can only get the first pic you send to enlarge, not the second -- wait, it just popped up! I'm not a wood expert, but the back doesn't look like rosewood to me, and the Style E spec-ed as rosewood back and sides. If the back and sides are mahogany, and the mandolin lacks the two-point body, it fits the specs of a Style G instead of a Style E. So, maybe just mis-labeled, assuming Pleijsier's descriptions of the various models, and the related catalog drawings (Style E on p. 158), are accurately descriptive.

    Hope this helps. Good luck getting it fixed up.
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    I think it is clearly a Regal made instrument. I have a very similar but lesser quality mandolin that was sold by Jenkins out of Kansas City. Here is a Jake Wildwood analysis of a Style 2424 which is pretty similar but has recessed tuners behind the plate:

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...-flatback.html

  7. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I think it is clearly a Regal made instrument. I have a very similar but lesser quality mandolin that was sold by Jenkins out of Kansas City.
    Still uncertain why L & H Washburn would mark it "Style E," if they had a Style E in their catalog with clearly different specs. Odd.
    Allen Hopkins
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    My best guess is that somebodymade a mistake writing out the label! After all, it is not an 1898 style instrument. Just one of the many anomalous things that crop up from time to time that seem to be at variance to the norm. This appears to be a style E-no mention of 1898 that was recently on ebay. Whoever wrote out these labels had a weird E, if that is what it is.:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-WAS...p2047675.l2557

  9. #7

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Then there was this one on ebay- I can't work out what the label shows: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-LYO...p2047675.l2557

  10. #8

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Whoever wrote out these labels had a weird E, if that is what it is.:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-WAS...p2047675.l2557

    Interesting, that's definitely the same weird "E."


    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to look this thing over and respond. I spent a few hours playing it this morning and thinking about the life it must have had. If I can't find anyone else I'll take it to dusty strings. I've had mixed results at their repair shop.

  11. #9
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Pretty sure "1898" was the serial number; as Pleijsier mentions, Washburn started a new numbering sequence with #1 around 1922. He also states that the new sequence had reached "mid 14,000's" by 1929, which implies around 2K instruments per year.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Yes, that makes perfect sense. I'm not sure if there is a number on those sold on ebay recently. I will take a look. The incomplete example appears to be about 30,000 - using your rule of thumb would be 1935- which seems a bit late. With the other, I cannot see well enough the label for a number. Its tuners are arrow ended- so about 1923 would be my guess.

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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    There's a full description of the Style E on p. 157, but the included catalog pix show it as a two-point, rather than the "no-point" shape of yours. If the back and sides are mahogany, and the mandolin lacks the two-point body, it fits the specs of a Style G instead of a Style E. So, maybe just mis-labeled, assuming Pleijsier's descriptions of the various models, and the related catalog drawings (Style E on p. 158), are accurately descriptive.
    Hi, Hubert here. The p. 157 description states Style E as having a pear shaped body (without the body points). In the footnote it is explained that all actual Styles E that I came upon had the pear shaped body style, as opposed to the catalog picture. So the explanation may be a lot simpler - L&H mixed up the catalog pictures. Not the first time that happened.. I agree that this is a Regal made mandolin.

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  16. #12

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    Hi, Hubert here. The p. 157 description states Style E as having a pear shaped body (without the body points). In the footnote it is explained that all actual Styles E that I came upon had the pear shaped body style, as opposed to the catalog picture. So the explanation may be a lot simpler - L&H mixed up the catalog pictures. Not the first time that happened.. I agree that this is a Regal made mandolin.

    Wow, thank you so much for all of the info. What a wonderful forum! What did it mean to be a Regal made mandolin? Did other makers produce the same model?

  17. #13

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Regal made various styles of mandolin and these were sold by third party retailers. However, the relationship between Regal and Lyon Healy/Washburn is complicated but by the 1920s many instruments that carried the Washburn name were made by Regal. I believe that the exact nature of the relationship has been outlined by a member here. The upshot is, that Lyon & Healy sold off all its interests to the owners of Regal and just kept the harp making business. In effect Washburn instruments were all made by Regal from this time onward and before that time, it was not so very different as so many were already made by Regal. If you search for the history of Lyon & Healy/Washburn you will probably find the info I refer to.

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  19. #14
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    I'd say its also 20s-30's.

  20. #15

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    I am new to this forum.

    I own a Washburn Model E Serial Number 2687. I added photos!!

    I wanted to add my 2 cents to the conversation concerning the shape of a Model E and say hello to all.

    Dan
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  21. #16
    Registered User nmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    The serial dates to the mid '20s. This mandolin was built by Lyon & Healy. Although Regal built a handful of instruments for L&H around this time, they are of a much lower quality and a different design.
    www.OldFrets.com: the obscure side of vintage instruments.

  22. #17

    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Hi nmiller,
    Thank you for the information.
    The back of my mandolin also has a somewhat stylish back. See photos.
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  23. #18
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washburn no. 1898 style E

    Yum. That rosewood back is lickable......

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