Established in 1873 by A Stathopoulo, “The House of Stathopoulo” were in the beginning manufacturers of most fretted instruments except banjos. The first banjos were made in 1876.
In the early 1920’s, as the Epiphone Banjo Corporation it launched its “Epiphone Recording Banjo” in both tenor and plectrum models. 5 string banjos were only supplied to special order. The sales of these instruments which included new principles of hoop and neck construction was so phenomenal that in 1925 the firm bought the factory of the Favoran Co. at 35 Wilbur Avenue, long Island, NY, and moved all its production there closing its factory in NY City.
In 1928 it became Epiphone Banjo Corporation.
By 1935 the company, now named Epiphone Inc. , had eleven models of their “Recording Banjos” , the instruments ranged in price from $150 - $500, in addition to two models of electric tenor-banjo which could be supplied as plectrum-banjos to special order.
Product ion stopped abruptly when America entered WW2 and did not start again until the 1950’s when the banjo started to be used again in entertainment circles and the address of the company at this time was 142 W. 14th St. NY City. On 5th April 1957 the Harmony Company of Chicago purchased the company and continued to market four models of the banjos.
Epaminondes A Stathopoulo (who always signed himself “Epi”), president of the company died on 6th June 1943.
Pictures courtesy of Stuart Morrison