Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. No re-opening date is available at this time. Check our website and social media for updates.

C. Bruno & Son Banjo Ukulele

C. Bruno & Son Banjo Ukulele

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
This banjo ukulele was sold by C. Bruno & Son, Inc. in New York, New York around 1916-1925. The wholesale musical instrument merchandiser was founded in 1834 by Charles Bruno. Charles, Jr. joined his father around 1862 and later served as the company’s president until his death in 1912.

A nationwide enthusiasm for all things Hawaiian was sparked by performances of hula dancing and ukulele playing at the Hawaiian Pavilion during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Within months, banjos tuned and played like Hawaiian ukuleles were marketed to capitalize on the growing interest.

In a 1927 advertisement in the Music Trade Review, the Bruno company asserted: “In conscientiously marketing, advancing and promoting the products of the makers, "Bruno" likewise has served the best interests of a great host of retail music dealers throughout the world. And so through this development, the trade slogan "Bruno Means Security" was evolved.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
banjo ukulele
date made
C. Bruno & Son
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
metal (part material)
wood (part material)
overall: 21 in x 7 3/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 53.34 cm x 19.685 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Helen Ann Immitti
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object