William A Cole from Vermont (1853 - 1909) was one of the early American makers of Banjos who in 1890 joined forces with A C Fairbanks in a powerful partnership which led to the Vega Banjo company. His brother Frank was a Cabinet Maker
As a young man he learnt the Violin but discovered the Banjo by 1871 and was taught by George Dobson. He taught and performed (sometimes as Kit, the Arkansas Traveller - a blackface act). He formed the Mexican Serenaders also known as the Imperial Quartet comprising Cole, Walter Veerland, Carlo Carciutto and P H Foley.
In 1880, Cole formed a partnership with Fairbanks at 121 Court Street which lasted 10 years until they split after a disagreement. Both men continued in separate companies and Cole produced the Eclipse Tone ring to go in his own banjos.