Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John E. Dallas and Sons

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December 1938.
September 1953.

of 6-10 Betterton Street, Drury Lane, London, WC2. Telephone: Temple Bar 6351. Cables: "Lensidern". (1929)

of Dallas Building, Clifton Street, London, EC2. Telephone: Bishopsgate 9981-7. Cables: "Lensidern-Phone". (1947)

1873 John Eastwood Dallas started to make banjos, with J. E. Brewster, in a small workshop in London's Oxford Street.

1875 He set up as a publisher and banjo maker at 415 Strand, from which address it is said he made banjos for the Moore and Burgess Minstrels and the Mohawk Minstrels. Dallas was a fine wood craftsman who fashioned some exceptionally high-class banjos and zither-banjos.

1893 By then, the demand for his instruments made it necessary for him to take over the entire premises at 415 Strand; enlarge his workshops; and employ men to make the large range of instruments he had put on the market. For some years he advertised that he personally tested every banjo and zither-banjo before it left his workshops. At the height of the banjo boom he was making banjos and zither-banjos for other firms and teachers.

1905/6 The three sons of John E. Dallas were rewarded for their work with the firm and were given directorships and the firm's title changed to John E. Dallas and Sons.

1914 In February, the firm moved to 202 High Holborn.

By the late 1920s, instruments were being mass produced under the name "Jedson." Which was derived from his initials, "J.E.D", and "Sons".

1921 August . The firm became a private limited company. Soon the activities of the company had spread far beyond the fretted instruments and with it came growth.

1926 The firm moved to larger premises, at 6-10 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2, and started to lay the foundation for the large wholesale distribution of everything musical for which the firm is known today.

1929 British Industries Fair Adverts for 'New Gramophones' - various models. Musical merchandise and 'Jedson' instruments. Also Masterton Gramophones, Jedson Banjos, Drums and General Musical Merchandise. Publishers of Tutors for all Instruments. (Musical Section - Stand No. MM.8) [1]

1937 The house of Dallas moved to Ridgmount Street.

They moved again - finally to Clifton Street, EC2.

1947 In June, John E. Dallas and Sons Ltd became a public company with an issued share capital of £500,000. With the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), Dallas ceased to make banjos but, in 1947, started to produce inexpensive banjos in small quantities - sold by music shops throughout the country. These bear the "Jedson" trade mark but do not comparable with the pre-war instruments bearing the same name.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for 'Fine Range of Musical Products'. Manufacturers of "Carlton" Drums, Percussion Band Instruments, Fretted Instruments, Recorders, Brass and Wood-wind Instruments Mouthpieces, Musical Accessories, Strings for all Instruments. Musical Publications, Manuscript Books, Tipperary Flutes, Record Players. (Music and Radio Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. C.1550) [2]

1963 The Houghton works in Birmingham were closed down, and George Houghton set up workshops for the Dallas company at Bexleyheath, Kent. It was from there that most of the post-war banjos bearing the Dallas name were made. A whole range of Dallas Banjo Ukuleles were made bearing the name and autograph of George Formby.

1966 Astaron-Bird linked with John E. Dallas and Sons to expand the sales of electronic organs that Bird made[3]

See Also

  • [1] Tiki King's Ukeulele Database
  • [2] Dallas Banjo Ukuelele

Sources of Information

  1. 1929 British Industries Fair Adverts 92 and 93; and p47
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 379; and p77
  3. The Times, Aug 19, 1966