The Ukulele Code

The Palm Beach Post became zealous for ukulele safety on 29 November 1934, after it heard about regulations to protect people working in the ukulele manufacturing trade. It felt the code was deficient, and suggested the following additional provisions:

1. No ukulele may be played between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am, nor between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.

2. No crooning shall be allowed as accompaniment to ukulele playing.

3. The sound-producing parts of the ukulele, ie., the strings, shall not be constructed of gut, wire, thread, string, rope or any other article which might possibly produce sound.

4. The hazards of the ukulele industry shall be defined as the dangers which arise from bodily injury to the ukulele player, and therefore it shall be unlawful for persons between the ages of two years and one hundred and fifty years to play ukulele.

5. Tariff on the importation of ukuleles from foreign countries or United States possessions, including Hawaii, shall be one thousand dollars per instrument. The tax on domestic manufacture shall be one thousand dollars per instrument.

At least they recognised that the uke is a musical instrument…

Published in: on August 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ukulele Manufacturing News from 1916

The following report appeared in The Musical Trade Review in 1916.

At the end of August,  1915, manufacturers of ukuleles in the Hawaiian Islands were turning out 500 or 600 instruments per month. At the end of August, 1916, the output was extended to 1,600 per month, with demands from mainland music dealers which could not be met.

There are eight principal manufacturers of ukuleles in Honolulu, with a scattering of instruments coming from small makers in the other islands. Each manufacterer has turned his small workshop into a factory, adding new workers and increasing the plant as rapidly as possible. In the first week of September a company was organised in Honolulu with plans to manufacture from 1,000 to 2,000 ukuleles per month with improved machinery, the workers to be Hawiians and Portuguese. This company plans not only the manufacture of ukuleles, but also to purchase completed material from other makers.

The originator of the ukulele, a Portuguese, who is now head of a manufacturing company, is still an active worker in his own factory, and turns out about 700 instruments per month. Another Honolulu firm produces about 400 per month.

The Hawiians and Portuguese of Hawaii claim that the instruments made by them, principally of koa wood, are seasoned and properly prepared. The prevailing local prices for ukuleles range from $3.75 to $16 and $20.  The highest-priced products are heavily beaded. The tone is of the most important items in the construction of the ukulele, and the Hawaiians and Portuguese claim that this is obtained only with the use of properly seasoned koa wood and proper attention paid to shaving the wood and fitting it.  The plans of the new companies forming, and of old factories being enlarged, will give an output close to 3,000 per month.

Passage reproduced courtesy of The International Arcade Museum and the Musical Box Society International.

Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 6:51 am  Comments (1)  
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