Danelectro originally produced amplifiers for Sears and Montgomery Ward under the Silvertone and Airline brands. Nat Daniels started the company in 1947 after a 10-plus year stint making amps for Epiphone.
Budget guitars were added to the mix in 1954 for Silvertone and the first one was a single cutaway “Model C”.
The same bodystyle with a slightly different “coke bottle” headstock labeled for Danelectro came out the next year. Those were the U1, U2, and U3 with the number progression referring to the number of lipstick pickups.
Here is an awesome link to the Silvertone world of Danelectro made guitars.
The lipstick pickups were a single alnico bar magnet housed in an actual chrome-plated lipstick tube, think cost savings.
Costs were also kept low as the body was constructed from a poplar or pine frame and covered in Masonite. At least that became the signature build method. However, the first few years the body was made from a single piece of poplar reinforced with a square aluminum tube running from the headstock to the bridge.
The poplar frame versions were technically semi-hollow and the combination of “unusual” materials and the pickups wired in series helped produce a unique sound.
The next iteration of Danelectro’s was the Shorthorn introduced in 1958 which is the most recognizable body style.
A 1961 model 3021 Shorthorn was used by Jimmy Page in DADGAD (Celtic) tuning to record When the Levee Breaks, In My Time of Dying, Kashmir, and Black Mountain Side.
1961 Danelectro 3021 Specs: Poplar body and neck, Masonite top and back, Rosewood fretboard, Two single coil lipstick pickups, Two concentric volume/tone controls, Three-way switch