Buescher Band Instrument Company
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The Buescher Band Instrument Company was a manufacturer of musical instruments in Elkhart, Indiana, from 1894 to 1963.
The company was founded by Ferdinand August "Gus" Buescher (born Elk Township, Noble County, Ohio 26 April 1861; died Elkhart, Indiana 29 November 1937). He accompanied his family to Goshen, Indiana and then to Elkhart in 1875. In 1876 he found employment with C.G. Conn's fledgling band instrument factory, and in 1888 he was promoted to foreman. In 1890 while still employed with Conn, he began producing band emblems at home and was setting up his own shop. In the fall of 1894 he opened the Buescher Manufacturing Company at 1119 N. Main Street which made band instruments and other metal products, in partnership with John L. Collins, a clothing merchant, and Harry L. Young, a salesman. In March 1901 he patented a cornet unusual in that the valves were of unequal lengths.
In 1903 there was a disastrous bank crash which affected Buescher's factory and a number of other local businesses. In 1904 the business was reorganized and renamed the Buescher Band Instrument Company. After the reorganization, the company limited itself to producing band instruments. In 1916 Buescher sold a major share of his company to six businessmen including Andrew Hubble Beardsley. Buescher remained president until 1919 when Beardsley assumed that title. Buescher was vice-president and general manager of the company until 21 January 1929 when he resigned these positions, remaining on staff as a consultant engineer.
In 1926 Buescher Band Instrument Company was joined with the Elkhart Band Instrument Company (some claim that Buescher was bought by Elkhart Band Instrument), a company founded two years previously by Beardsley with Conn's Carl Greenleaf as secretary-treasurer. In 1963 Buescher was sold to H. and A. Selmer. After the sale Selmer restricted the use of the Buescher trademark to selected products, and rebranded some instruments with other names. The quality level of the Buescher horns gradually decreased after the Selmer buyout as Selmer USA began to concentrate on the student horn market.
Though Buescher manufactured many kinds of brass instruments, the company was known primarily for its saxophones which competed successfully with Conn and Martin. It is believed that Buescher was the first company to produce them in America. It also produced some flutes and clarinets between 1910 and 1920, the Saxonette (also known as the "clariphon" and the "claribel"), a clarinet with a curved metal barrel and a curved metal bell pitched in A, B♭, C or E♭. They were produced with the Albert system, and later with the Boehm System . Similar instruments were also produced by Gretsch and Supertone, although these could be stencils of the Buescher.
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- Single French Horn. Buescher produced a single French horn in F, with a serial # range including 259090
- Double French Horn 400
- also serial number 5000 range
Buescher oval logo HR, wooden and metal clarinets in Albert and Boehm systems Buescher True Tone Clarinets (possibly Penzel Mueller stencils) Buescher 400 clarinets (Selmer era) Buescher "Aristocrat" Bb clarinet (Selmer era)
Note: These pictures may or may not be of a clarinet made by the Buescher Band Instrument Company.
This is a close up of the engraved "American Professional" emblem on the bell. If you look just above where it says "American Standard" you will see that there is a backwards "C" and the letters "LP" This means that this clarinet is a "Low Pitched clarinet in the key of C" In other words, this is a Bb clarinet.
The engraved emblem on this clarinet shows that the brand is " American Professional" the link below states that Buescher was the retailer of "American Professional" instruments.
- Buescher Bb Truetone (Professional), There were a wide variety of Truetone models many custom made for the professional musician. Louis Armstrong recorded with a Buescher Truetone 10-22R Trumpet in the late 1920s.
The Aristocrat was a Truetone professional trumpet previous to the Selmer buy out and became a student horn after 1963. It was a step down from the Truetone. After the traditional Truetone trumpets were the Buescher 400 Truetone. These are more modern sounding and good for big band jazz. There were three models. Brass with nickel, Silver plate, and silver plate with sterling silver bell called Super 400.
- Buescher Grand (silverplated with goldplated bell engraving)
- Buescher 400 (Early models had slanted braces on bell section and offset slide tubes with the upper slide tube roughly 2" behind the lower. Later models had straight braces).500 bore
- Buescher silver-plated military band-style upright three-valve Bb flat
- Buescher silver-plated upright three-valve Eb tuba with small shank mouthpiece receiver
- Buescherphones (tradename for sousaphones)
- Buescher 400
- Buescher special 2000
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- True Tone (1905–1932), used by orchestras including Boston Symphony and Paul Whiteman
- New Aristocrat (1932–1934), split bell keys, black rollers, "The New Aristocrat" engraving; used by Sigurd Rascher and briefly by Charlie Parker
- Aristocrat series I (1934–1941), left-sided bell keys, yellow or tan rollers, "The Buescher Aristocrat" engraving; used by Bud Freeman, Earle Warren, Ike Quebec, Elliot Riley
- Aristocrat series II "Big B" (1941–1955), left-sided bell keys, yellow or tan rollers, large "B" plus "The Buescher Aristocrat" engraving; used by Johnny Hodges and Al Sears of the Duke Ellington orchestra
- Aristocrat series III (1951–1963), left-sided bell keys & 1955-59 bell keys behind bell, yellow or tan rollers, "Buescher Aristocrat" engraving
- Buescher 400 "Top hat & cane" model (1941–1959), extra-large bell, silver ring around bell opening, bell keys behind bell, yellow or tan rollers, engraving with castle and top hat, "Buescher 400" in silver on bell.
- Aristocrat series IV (1964–1983), student model
- Buescher 200 (1964 - later), student model
- Buescher 400 (1964 - later), intermediate model
Engraving on a True Tone C melody saxophone
Model number 3294
Aristocrat Engraving, True Tone valves
- New Grove Music Dictionary ("Buescher")
- McMakin, Dean "Musical Instrument Manufacturing in Elkhart, Indiana" (unpublished typescript, 1987, available at Elkhart Public Library)
- The Elkhart Truth, 29 November 1937, obituary of Ferdinand August Buescher
- Elkhart city directories (available Elkhart Public Library)