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Vega

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In 1889 in Boston, Mass. Julian Nelson and his brother Carl, with two skilled musical instrument makers named John Pahn and John Sweson, formed a small company for the making of guitars.

 

 Calling themselves The Vega Company, Julian and the two Johns started to produce some high quality guitars in their one roomed “factory”.  Carl took no active part in production ; he was merely the financial adviser (book keeper) in the beginning.

 

Business prospered and kept the three craftsmen busy but for some years Vega guitars were only known in and around Boston.  

 

Julian Nelson was an expert on woods and was always responsible for the selection and purchase of the quality timbers that went into the making of Vega instruments.  (He died on 14th July 1920 at the age of 51 but his insistence on only the best woods for Vega instruments, was a legacy he left behind him).

 

After a few years Julian and Carl Nelson purchased the controlling interest of the other two partners and Carl entered the firm as full-time financial adviser and a move was made to larger premises on one of the waterfront streets in Boston.  To cope with the fast increasing demand for Vega Instruments a number of workmen were added to the pay roll and several wood working machines installed.

 

In addition to guitars the Vega Company now started to make mandolins, which were fast becoming popular in the USA.  With Mandolin Clubs (orchestras) being formed everywhere in America the name of Vega started to become known from the East Coast to California.

 

The demand for Vega guitars and mandolins continued to grow apace and soon the company had outgrown its small factory.  Having in mind the future development of the company, in 1908 the two brothers Nelson bought the Standard Band Instrument Company (?)  from Thompson & Odell  (the music publishers and importers) who, incidentally, had originally acquired the firm and its factory about 1880 from Quimby Brothers and DC Hall (its founders) who were the first instrument makers of any note in Boston.

 

This was the first expansion which made it possible for the Vega Company to sell goods other than those they actually made.   (It is interesting to note that this remains the status quo to this very day {1967})

 

The Vega plant was moved into the spacious Standard Co factory at 62 Sudbury Street where, with the additional machines and up-to-date facilities they remained until June 1917 when they moved to even larger premises at 155 Columbus Avenue.

 

In 1904 the premises of AC Fairbanks & co in Washington Street was destroyed by fire. These makers of high class banjos were held in high esteem by banjoists.  The firm at this time was owned by Messrs Dodge & Cummings but the affairs of the company had been in the capable hands of David L Day, a name regarded with respect throughout the whole banjo world.

                           

                                                                                                                                                             ..... continues .....

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