Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

  1. #1

    Default Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    These were on eBay advertised as "Kay Harmony Stella Guitar Tuners 1950s" which they are not! I believe they are early 20th century and the tuner posts are a push fit into the gears. Jake Wildwood shows the same set on a Victoria flat top that he thinks was made by Oscar Schmidt circa 1920. On his photo you can see that the gears have screws attaching the gears to the posts. I assume that was done as one gear has been replaced on this set and one seems to have a penchant for loosening itself. The string posts are slender which might translate to banjo mandolin but not necessarily. My guess is Waverly as the maker but that may be wrong.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210105_125712 Brass Tuners.jpg 
Views:	114 
Size:	178.8 KB 
ID:	191106

  2. #2
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    613

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Looks like that gear is on upside down. Pretty cool.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Well spotted- when it was the right way up, the post was not vertical, so I took it off and afterwards, it did not want to stay on except upside down! There is a gash mark on the plate by it which suggests there has been some less than delicate fettling action fitting it many years ago. It is not the same as the others and is not a good fit but I assume the original fell off and was not found. The posts appear to be about 3/16 wide. Below is the photo of Jake Wildwood's Victoria mandolin's tuners.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	victoria0011 Tuners.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	52.0 KB 
ID:	191111

  4. #4
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    613

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Looking at it again, it looks like that replacement gear has the wrong or no bevel and is eating the worm gear.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Here is the "before2 photo. You can see the gear and the fact that the post has been modified to fit it into it. It seems to turn okay You can see that the gear below was beginning to fall off- which seems to be its ambition.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	s-l1600 Brass Tuners Before.jpg 
Views:	49 
Size:	235.1 KB 
ID:	191114

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    24,669

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    I actually had a similar set that laid around here for years until I sent them s a gift to a friend. I can't even remember what I got them off of, most likely an old bowlback.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,580

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Yikes! The last photo is pretty clear: the "replacement" gear has 14 teeth, while the others have only 12!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  8. #8

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Yes, 14 teeth all right. I took a look at bowlbacks after Mike's comment and found two Regal examples which were reckoned to be 1890s and 1900s. Both had these tuners but with the gears screwed in. It is then quite possible that these tuners are even older than I suspected. Looking at them carefully, I can see that most of the gears have a hairline crack and I assume that banging them in hard to make them hold is possibly the reason for this and would explain the move to screws as it is possible that the gears were breaking while the units were being made and led to the change. Jake Wildwood has suggested they are Waverly items.

  9. #9
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,580

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    ... most of the gears have a hairline crack and I assume that banging them in hard to make them hold ...
    My assumption, without in-hand inspection, is that the rounded ends of the capstans were probably peened over, treating them as rivets. That might also expand the shaft and pressure the inside of the gears - maybe intentionally as long as it doesn't over-pressure, causing the cracks that you see.

    Unfortunately, they really can't be disassembled without getting into re-building, most likely drilling & threading to convert to screws. But then you'd still have one odd gear plus some cracked ones. On the good side, there's a decent chance that StewMac has replacements available.
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  10. #10

    Default Re: Brass Mandolin Tuners-Waverly?Early 20th century

    Those round ends just push into the gears and you can see in the photo of the tuners before I cleaned them that the bottom gear below the replacement gear is coming away- and it dropped off when I took them out of the shipping bag. I had assumed before they arrived that they were peened or had a dollop of brass on them but it seems they are just a push fit and have lasted for 100 plus years- although it is hard to know when they were retired. As I wrote, this style was possibly seen as problematic, so screws and a thread were substituted which is the only style I have seen in photos- possibly because this method was short lived and not too many were made- or stood the test of time!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •