Owning a Dayton banjo, mandolin or other string instruments made by Charles (Chas.) B. Rauch is a rare treat indeed. Of an estimated several thousand instruments crafted and sold by Mr. Rauch and his company between approximately 1910 and 1940 (his wife sold any remaining instruments after his death in 1943), only a couple more than 100 are known to exist today. Fifthteen of those reside in today's Dayton String Instrument Company's permanent collection. To date, the collection showcases three five-string banjos, a tenor banjo, a plectrum banjo, two violins, a flattop guitar, an Archtop Guitar, four banjo-ukuleles, two banjo-mandolins and two student special mandolins.

 

Today's Dayton String Instrument Company is a preservation and revival project that evolved in 2010 from the admiration of two fellow enthusiasts for the instruments and history of Charles B. (Chas.) Rauch who, after the turn of the century, began making mandolins based on the technology detailed in Patent No. 1,001,302, awarded Mr. Rauch in 1911. Until 1923, when he formed the Dayton String Instrument Company in Dayton, Ohio, each Rauch instrument was simply labeled "The Dayton by Chas. B. Rauch."   

 

The manufacturing facility for Dayton String Instruments was housed for the company's lifetime at 143 Apple Street, Dayton, Ohio. At least two other addresses on the quaint, Norman Rockwellesque-sounding street were residences occupied over time by Mr. Rauch himself and other family members.

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The Dayton String Instrument Company was the evolution of one man's vision.  It got it's official start in 1910 with instruments, Mandolins, mostly at first, which Mr. Rauch called "The Dayton" by Chas. B. Rauch.  

 

It later became known as The Dayton String Instrument Company (referred to as DSI from this point).  The addresses listed for the business in historical directories, list the business as being at 143 Apple Street in Dayton, Ohio.

 

So far, the research suggests that DSI never moved production from Dayton, Ohio, as previously thought.  At this point, the best explanation for the Sioux City connection is that this was a sales department. The Cadenza ads from May1923  and July 1923 list Sioux City as a "General Sales Department" for DSI.  

 

The closest business found in the Sioux City city directories was Templeman Plectrum Quartette & Mandolin Orchestra (located at 406 4th st, the DSI ad lists the address for the DSI sales department at 404 4th st).  This information comes from the 1927 Sioux City city directory.

 

Chas. B. Rauch, the founder/sole proprietor of DSI was also director of the Dayton Mandolin Orchestra.  At the most, it appears that some sales could have gone through Sioux City with some possible connection with the Templeman.

 

There is no mention of DSI or Chas. B. Rauch in any city directory in Sioux City. The Dayton city directories show DSI being active as instrument manufacturers until at least 1938. After which time, DSI is listed as a musical instrument dealer. After Rauch died in 1943, his wife is listed with DSI, until at least 1946 as musical instrument dealers.  

 

To recap, there is no evidence to indicate the company moved from Dayton, Ohio and there is significant evidence to show that they did not in fact move.

 

About the dates- there is a lot of discovery that needs to be done. At this point, we can say that serial number 4 was made during 1911 (the patent was pending). Also, serial number 1000 is around 1922 because we see the shift from the Rauch label to the DSI label.

 

The 1922 Dayton city directory contains the first entry for DSI. In the 1910 census, Rauch is listed as a music teacher, not manufacturer like in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. It appears that Rauch started making instruments as a profession in 1911.

 

During the 30s, there are references to Chas. B. Rauch as a commercial printer at the same address of his workshop. It would be interesting to know what he was printing. It can be assumed at a minimum, materials related to his business (catalogs, instrument labels, flyers, etc).

 

After 1938, DSI is listed as a dealer not a manufacturer.  

 

The meaning of the serial numbers is something we are in the process of understanding. With our limited examples so far, there are large gaps in the numbers and they seem to pool around certain areas.

 

Our best estimate of Rauch's years of production is 1911-1938, roughly 27 years. We have thus far accounted for a range of serial numbers, that if taken to run consecutively, would indicate that Rauch made an average of 1 instrument every 3 days during this time.  This seems like a lot of instruments for a small operation to be putting out. Rauch is also listed as a music teacher during the years of instrument manufacturing. This would seem to suggest that he made less than 1 instrument every 3 days. But this is just speculation.

 

Thanks to all who have contributed to making this research possible.