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Thread: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

  1. #1

    Default Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Firstly, this mandolin appears to have Waverly tuners from about 1920. The tailpiece is certainly different. At a quick glance it looks to be European but it may not be as those tuners are US made. I found this on the internet:

    About 1877, an New York banjo-player - Alfred D. Cammeyer - apparently modified his banjo with a resonator, frets, upgraded tuners, and silk-wound strings, then attempted to play a zither solo for an orchestral performance.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cammeyer-...sAAOSwIPRfX19N

    Here is his obituary from BMG magazine in 1950- he came to the UK and that explains things a lot.

    http://zither-banjo.org.uk/pages/cammobit.htm

    I might have to stick a bid on it!

  2. #2
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    All pennies that could be spared were hoarded until the day the young Cammeyer, at the age of fourteen, bought his first banjo and commenced to teach himself to play - much to the disgust of his parents
    You think the parents wished he stayed with orchestra at that point?

    Sue

  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Yes, interesting mandolin. I hope you can acquire it. I have heard of Cammeyer in terms of banjos but not mandolins. I wonder if the Essex partnership would put a date on this mandolin circa 1900 but he also could have sold instruments to his students. I seem to recall that Cammeyer banjos might have had patented features so if you have access to U.K. patents maybe you can find those. The most unusual feature of that mandolin is that tailpiece which he may have patented.
    Jim

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    That is an interesting machine. The tailpiece alone should prevent unwanted sound issuing, but would be handy to open beer with. The neck heel is also aberrant. You might buy it and then do more detective work.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    I don't know if the mandolin has John Dallas aspects to it or Clifford Essex. Of course, it could have been made by Clifford Essex long after their business partnership had ended. I wonder when those Waverly tuners were introduced although they may be replacement items? That might help date the instrument. My luthier tells me that Cammeyer banjos were very well made.

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    This web site has some additional info about Cammeyer, that he had a shop until 1939 to make mostly banjos after breaking up with Essex.

    Alfred Cammeyer was officially one of the men cited as inventing the Zither Banjo and was for a while in partnership with Clifford Essex. After the partnership dissolved in 1900 he kept the workshop at 13 Greek Street, Soho, London for the manufacture of instruments, mainly Banjos, under his name. The man in charge of the workshops was Sidney W. Young and he was responsible for most if not all of the later banjo developments from this workshop. When Cammeyer retired from business due to illness 1939, Young took over the workshop and continued to make instruments but under his own name and I don't know if Banjoleles were still being made at this point?
    Also this site:

    When Clifford Essex arid Alfred D. Cammeyer dissolved partnership in 1900, Cammeyer took over the workshops (established in 1896 at 13 Greek Street, Soho) for the production of Cammayer instruments. These were mainly zither-banjos but some banjos (and later, plectrum banjos and tenor banjos) were made. The man in charge of the workshops was Sidney W. Young who was responsible for the designs of the famous "Vibrante" and "Vibrante Royal" zither-banjos and the "New Era" banjos bearing the Cammeyer name.

    When Cammeyer retired from business ill 1939, Sidney Young took over the workshop at Richmond Buildings, Soho, and continued to make instruments under his own name up to the outbreak of World War II. After the war he established a workshop at 70 New Oxford St., "here he worked in conjunction with John Alvey Turner Ltd. until his retirement in 1963. When Cammeyer died in 1949, Mr. Young acquired the stock of Cammeyer "parts" and timber and from these Produced many "Vibrante" zither banjos but these instruments do not carry the facsimile signature of Alfred D. Cammeyer, which first appeared on Cammeyer instruments after July 1st, 1900 and was attached to all his instruments until the date of his retirement.
    More and similar info here.

    And here is what looks like an octave mandolin/mandola of similar design to the eBay.uk one above.

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    Last edited by Jim Garber; Sep-23-2020 at 1:25pm.
    Jim

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Jim, that's great! My luthier has educated me on how to say Cammeyer correctly! I was pronouncing the name as if it was German. Of course, it may be, originally!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kammeyer

  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    For historical purposes, here's the original eBay mandolin. What is especially of interest to me is the rather slim neck heel (see last photo). I assume that there must be some pretty substantial neck block inside the body.
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    Jim

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Jim, those photos may not be loading okay- I can see only one. Edit: They are okay now!

    That octave mandola is very interesting!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Is this instrument carved? Judging from the banjola or whatever it is that Jim posted, I am wondering if this might be a mandola?
    The seller has replied to my question- it is a touch over 29 inches long and just over 12 inches wide, so it may well be although that headstock is a bit tall in itself.
    Last edited by NickR; Sep-24-2020 at 6:57am.

  11. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    NickR: so, did you win it? £237 / $301USD. Sounds reasonable.
    Jim

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Jim, my bid was the losing bid below- £232! My luthier wrote: "Nick, itís carrying some serious damage, not irretrievable, but serious enough to impact the sale price!" so I held off a bit. He would have liked to see more but that's eBay auctions. He also wrote: "they are not top drawer,, but never the less a good quality instrument" and he has seen a few. Never mind, you have to be sensible but I don't own a mandola and I am pretty certain that's what it is and having one would be nice and this instrument has plenty to merit it. I have got through 2020 so far, without buying a single instrument- although I did buy a 1972 Regal/Harmony dreadnought, and the seller emailed me to tell me he thought the neck was bent and he should not forward it, and refunded my money. He has since given it away- he should have listed it as a parts only repair and sold it but he chose to donate it to a youth band.

  13. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    Never mind, you have to be sensible but I don't own a mandola and I am pretty certain that's what it is and having one would be nice and this instrument has plenty to merit it.
    I am curious why you think this is a mandola. Did you get any measurements from the seller? And, of course, mandola on your side of the Atlantic pond means octave mandolin to us in NA. Or do you mean what we mean?

    I still think the term mandoliola or mandola contralto (CGDA) vs. mandola tenore (octave GDAE) make a lot more sense or at least attempt to avoid confusion.
    Jim

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Interesting Mandolin- Cammeyer -the owner from NYC?

    Jim, the instrument is just over 29 inches long and a bit over 12 inches wide. None of my mandolin cases will fit that mandolin! I think the Gibson H4 mandola is as follows: Overall: 28 ◊ 10 7/8 ◊ 15 5/8 in although I have also seen 29 inches as the length. It is much bigger than atypical European mandolin of the era which is a mere 23 or 24 inches long. My idea of a mandola is CGDA tuning. If the instrument had a decent case, I would have bid a bit more but it has a very worn Reliance case that is of no value although it keeps the dust off the instrument. I did ask the seller to send me the scale length but this did not happen prior to the auction ending, so I think it unlikely I will get that info now.

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