Ashborn Five-String Fretless Banjo

Description (Brief)
This banjo was made by James Ashborn of Wolcottville, Connecticut around 1852-1875. It has 12 brackets, stained maple neck, rosewood veneer fingerboard, and a stained maple hoop. The peghead is stamped: "J. ASHBORN PATENT 1852." which is a patent for an improved tuning peg, U.S. Patent #9,268, September 21, 1852.
James Ashborn was the first to apply mass production principles to banjo and guitar making. His efficient factory in Connecticut was the source for high quality musical instruments distributed through New York wholesalers in the rapidly expanding 19th century market, signifying the instrument’s transition from homemade artifact to a profitable commercial product.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Ashborn, James
overall: 39 in x 13 1/2 in x 3 in; 99.06 cm x 34.29 cm x 7.62 cm
overall: 39 1/2 in x 13 1/2 in x 3 1/8 in; 100.33 cm x 34.29 cm x 7.9375 cm
place made
United States: Connecticut, Wolcottville
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.