Founded in Chicago in 1864, George Washburn Lyon and Patrick J. Healy built their first instrument – a harp – in the year 1889. This partnership quickly became the Washburn company ‘Lyon & Healy’. Lyon & Healy’s knowledge of instrument building and unique designs was later applied to the traditional figure-eight shape of the ukulele at the turn of the 20th century, in which the company introduced a number of less traditional shapes such as the ‘bell’ and the ‘shrine’ ukulele.
This beautiful ukulele is a fine example of a late 1920’s Lyon & Healy ‘Shrine’ soprano ukulele. This model, along with the ‘bell’ model was created at peak of the ukulele’s Jazz Age popularity in the late 20s and in to the early 30s. Handcrafted in Chicago, U.S.A., this historical piece is the epitome of eighty-five years of patina and wear with numerous scratches and overall finish-checking. Considered a mainstream competitor of musical instrument giants C.F. Martin & Co and Gibson, the Washburn company offered a number of different models, sizes, and designs both in mahogany wood and Hawaiian Koa. Perhaps one of it’s greatest appeals was the competitive price point in which these instruments were offered to ukulele enthusiasts throughout the U.S.A; typically at prices slightly lower than Martin and Gibson for comparative models.
This gorgeous Lyon & Healy shrine ukulele was handcrafted from mahogany wood with a rosewood fingerboard and a classic mustache rosewood bridge design. Mahogany wood neck and green celluloid top and back binding for aesthetic appeal. Excellent center balance with a bright shallow body sound that sparks memories of a simpler and earlier time.
Affectionately known as the “Shrine Ukulele”, the instrument comes from a time in American history when the ukulele was booming in popularity along with Hawaiian music. This is an example of an ukulele made in the Continental USA at a time when Hawaii was still a territory and is an example of how ukulele manufacturers experimented with design, sound, and receptiveness of the instrument over the years. ID#:180151
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