Performer, composer, arranger and teacher of the banjo, Joe (Joshua) Daniels (whose real name was Joseph Toledano) established a studio at 28 Bishopsgate Street, London, in 1870 and, after a few years, moved to 112 Leadenhall Street where he started to advertise himself as "Musical Instrument Maker" and teacher of the banjo, mandolin and guitar - in addition to stage dancing. In 1887 he took out a patent for a metal casing (or "sound box") round the banjo hoop and a spring device to keep down the pressure bar of the banjo tailpiece.
Later he patented his ”Defiance” banjo which had a 9 in. vellum glued direct on to a 1/4in square bezel though which straining bolts passed to engage in a flange fixed to an all metal resonator-type back. The metal hoop had oval-shape vents cut into it at regular intervals all the way round its perimeter. The metal used in this unusual banjo was very thin aluminum (or some other lightweight alloy) and the instrument was extremely light to handle.
It is doubtful whether Daniels actually made the instruments himself. The hoops were obviously spun and the conventional arm used could have been made in the workshops of John E. Dallas. It is possible that Daniels assembled the instruments so in effect he could rightly call himself an "instrument maker."
The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) presented Daniels with a silver medallion inscribed with the Fleur de Lys and this was fixed to the peghead of the banjo Joe Daniels always played in his public performances.
He died in March 1915, at the age of 73.
Further information go to this Old Time Herald article by Lewis Stern
Pictures courtesy of Brown Dog Banjos. Contrary to the one described above this instrument is heavy, probably made of brass and heavily nickel plated
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