Bruno logo

C. Bruno & Son

Lange made Bruno Banjolele Banjo Ukulele
bruno Ukulele
The Peach
Dandy Line
glee club Ukulele
Glee Club
Maxitone Gumby Head  Banjolele
The Vernon Tiple Ukulele
oscar schmidt new jersey Bruno Lyra
1920's Lyra
1960's Lyra Baritone
bruno scout banjo Ukulele mini uke
Scout Uke
The Simple Life

Bruno was founded in 1834, in New York City. For a brief period of time during the 1830's the company was in partnership with C. F. Martin, before Martin moved to Pennsylvania.

Bruno distributed a variety of musical instruments, including Ukuleles and Banjoleles, which were produced by all the big manufacturers like Regal and Lange. Bruno usually re branded the instruments as Bruno or one of their other brand names such as Hanalei Banjuke, (launched in 1917), Maxitone, Bon Ton, Glee Club, Lyra, Dandy Line, Peach, Vernon, Conqueror (reg 1925), Ventura, and Winston. After WWII Bruno continued using a lot of these brand names but now they were put on instrument imported from places like Occupied Japan, Taiwan and even West Germany.

Some Bruno instruments I have read about but not seen are; in 1917 they were distributing a Ukulele branded the Waikiki which they said was made in Honolulu, (and if you look closely you can see this possibly ended up as a Hanalei too - after all there have always been a lot of Ukuleles branded Waikiki). They sold a version of the little Mini scale round bodied Ukulele that a lot of other New York distributors sold but theirs was branded as Scout Uke, (not the same as Richter's). Also the Jazzerup model, a bracketless Banjolele finished in one of four colours, red, orange, blue and green. Also in 1925 a Banjolele with a 7" head decorated with 1 of 5 designs:- the Surf Queen, Happy Days, Home Sweet Home, Diving Maid, and the Simple Life, (I've seen the Simple Life, Home Sweet Home and Diving Maid but not the others). Then from the trademark database I know they registered the names Trump, Mako and Stradtone for use on fretted instruments, but I don't know if these were used on Ukuleles.

Bruno moved out of New York in 1982 and at some point after this was taken over by the Kaman Corporation and their subsidiary KMC Music which has since been sold on to JAM Industries.

Some notes on the Maxitone brand name.
This started out in 1924 as a name used for heavy gauge aluminum Banjo resonators to be fitted as aftermarket add-ons for any open back banjo (they came in 3 sizes for 10, 11 and 12 in drums). This was made by the Musical Instrument Specialties Co., of Elkhart Indiana. They must have been popular as fairly soon after Lyon & Healy started using them as metal resonators for their instruments and Bruno came to market with a new model of Tenor Banjo, the Magic Wonder, specially for them. By 1926 the Maxitone name had become so popular that Bruno decided to use it on a number of ranges of instrument including wooden Ukuleles and the two kinds of multi-coloured Banjolele. Here is a quote from a 1926 article announcing the launch
C. Bruno & Son, Inc., wholesalers of musical merchandise, 353 Fourth avenue, New York, are calling attention to their new Maxitone line of banjo-ukuleles made up in the popular new color finishes. The Maxitone line has the closed back and wood rim with sound holes in the rim and the line offers a selection of eight colors. They are orange, pink, lavender, blue, black, red, green and white. The same line of instruments is also made up with an extension wood resonator back, finished in the same colors.
Bruno also announces the Maxitone line of all-metal banjo-ukuleles, with and without extension metal resonators. These instruments are also colored and are made up in nickel, copper and color finishes.
However in 1927 when Bruno actually received the first shipment of 3200 Banjoleles, what arrived was described as
They are durable in construction and have a very snappy tone. They have a seven-inch metal rim with fancy "f" hole design, closed resonator back, twelve nickel-plated brackets, heavy nickel-plated straining hoop, calfskin head, birch neck finished in color, fancy design headpiece and patent pegs.
I have seen some of the colours listed but I don't think I have ever seen a Pink or Purple one and I think it interesting to note that this new range of instruments didn't actually use the clip on resonator originally called the Maxitone?
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