A Century of Silvertone

Musical Instruments

As widespread as phonographs were starting to become, there was already a long history in America of porch pickin' and parlor entertainments, as a large portion of the population was at least competent on some musical instrument. In 1916, Sears offered over forty  pages of pianos, guitars, mandolins, banjos, violins, trumpets, cornets, saxophones, clarinets, xylophones, tambourines, fifes, ocarinas, harmonicas, drums, zithers, autoharps, accordions, and the accessories, music stands and sheet music to assist in your musical endeavors.

  • Sears advertised several matching guitars and mandolins, and each pair had its own name. This, obviously, is the 'college' group.

  • All the hits of the day, available for your parlor parties!

  • Even if you couldn't play, you could still thread a roll through your player piano.


Guitars and mandolins were quite popular, and Sears had several matching instruments that you could buy, each pair with their own 'look,' and each with their own charming name.

Glowing descriptions of every instrument as well. Here's an example:


Banjos? Got  'em!
Harp guitar? Check. Banjo guitar? Check.

Ukuleles? Mmmm hmm...

Fancy Brass!

An incredible array of harmonicas:


Among the 'normal' instruments, there were certainly some oddities, like this four-string 'Little Joe.' What's that attached to the headstock? It's a harmonica!

Or how about a nice Celestaphone?

On to 1917-1919