The L B Gatcomb Co., Boston Mass, was well known as makers of banjos well into the turn of the 20th C.
Lincoln B Gatcomb was born in Hancock, Maine, on 25th June 1854 and bought his first banjo when a boy after hearing Bill Carter perform. Being dissatisfied with the crude instrument he decided to make himself a better one, having been apprenticed to the stair builders trade where he learned a lot about wood working and tools. He used his spare time to make banjos which he sold without any trouble.
In 1875 he gave up all thoughts of stair building and started to manufacture banjos full time as a business based in East Boston. In 1880 George L Lansing became an associate and this famous player gave him many suggestions for the improvement of his instruments.
In 1885 he established a banjo and guitar factory in Hanover Street, Boston, and the business steadily grew from that time on. He began publishing music in 1887 in which year the company was incorporated. Two years later he opened a teaching establishment as a58 Winter Street with HW Harris, BE Shattuck, AA Babb and George Lansing on his teaching staff, and in 1887 he started his famous “Gatcomb’s Musical Gazette”.
All this combined to helped him sell his range of banjos which included “The Amateur”, “The Student”, “the Standard”, “The Lansing”, “The Special” and “The Peerless” ranging in price from $10 to $100.
In 1895 the LB Gatcomb Co Inc. was advertising from its premises at 171 Tremont Street, Boston as “sole owners and manufacturers” of the “new” Lansing banjo range which had a range of 3 octaves and saying that “all advanced players requires a 3 octave instrument”.
Images courtesy of John Bernunzio