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He famously favored wood-rimmed banjos with metal-clad “spunover” construction where a sheath of shiny metal was wrapped around the outside and curled or rolled over the top edge to let the head sit atop a kind of hollow tube.The Boston school (likely preferred by modern players) was more into developing various types of “tone rings” – metal rings of various designs that sit on top of the rim, between the head and wooden shell.A round steel rod sat atop the scallops and carried the skin head.
Frank Cole’s Eclipse tone ring was no doubt a competitive response to Fairbanks’ (Day’s) highly successful Electric tone ring.
In 1895 the London firm of Essex and Cammeyer was appointed British agents for the Cole Banjos and Mr (later Sir) Home Gordon played the first of these to be imported, at a concert held in North Cray in December of that year.
William Cole died 2nd January 1909 and Frank Cole took over the business and from then on the banjos he made at 3 Appleton Street Boston carried his name.
About 1895 he trained his three sons (Percival, 12, Harry,9 and Raymond, 7) as banjoists.
Frank E Cole died at the age of 67 in Avondale, Nova Scotia on 19th July 1922 from cerebral haemorrhage. To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has Java Script enabled.
The Cole’s Eclipse tone ring was equally elaborate.