Acme Professional

     "The Regal" Model

 

This fine banjo is owned by Mr. Carl Benson of Richmond, Virginia. This article is here with his kind permission.

The Acme Professional line of banjos was made for Sears, Roebuck & Company by S.S. Stewart starting in 1893.  The only real difference from the regular Stewart line is the stick stamp and a celluloid emblem in the rear of the peghead.  The distinctive Stewart peghead shape and inlay are clearly evident.  I've been wanting to see an Acme in person for quite some time.

 

The instrument was in extraordinarily good condition as it came to me.  Upon first inspection, all it needed was replacing one missing bracket and hook, cleaning, and a set of tuners.
Upon disassembly, I saw that the dowel stick needed realignment and there was a small chip in the tip of the rear side of the peghead.  I'll do an article on dowel sticks some other time.
I mounted a set of old Champion tuners and strung it with Aquila Nylgut strings.

 

For the missing bracket and hook set, I resorted to my parts box.  I picked a bracket that was reasonably close in shape and ground it to match the others as best I could.  I found a hook that was a good match except it needed to be shortened a bit.  I also found a similar nut and ground it to an approximate match.  I nickel-plated and polished them.  Unfortunately, I don't have a close-up of them.  It is the bracket nearest the heel on the lower side, partly visible in this shot of the fingerboard.

 

I glued a small chip of cocobolo into the tip.  Cocobolo is quite hard and tough.  Even though it shows more, I oriented the grain of the cocobolo vertically to better resist further damage.

Interesting pip made of ebony and mounted with the forward edge aligned with the 5th fret.  This is the original factory configuration - no modifications by me.
It polished up very nicely.  I used Flitz on the spunover rim and tension hoop.  The hardware was polished in my tumbler with crushed walnut shell medium. The bridge is a Grover that I thinned slightly and rounded the edges.

 

Here is the "Regal" model from the 1900 Sears & Roebuck catalog (upper left).  I've pulled the Regal image out from among the others and retyped the description in a more legible size.   Note the price: $12.50!

Acme dowel stick stamp.

A beauty!

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