The Julius Keilwerth company is a German saxophone manufacturer, established in 1925.
|Type||Limited liability (GmbH)|
|Genre||Musical instrument manufacturers|
|Founded||1925 (Julius Keilwerth)|
Julius Keilwerth first apprenticed for the Kohlert company in Graslitz, Czechoslovakia. After this apprenticeship, Julius Keilwerth and his brother, Max, established a workshop in their home around 1925 or 1926. They primarily manufactured saxophones for Adler and FX Hüller. The Julius Keilwerth company became one of the largest saxophone manufacturers in Europe by the start of WWII, with approximately 150 workers. After World War II, the company relocated to its present headquarters at Nauheim, Germany.
In 1948, the old Julius Keilwerth production facilities in Graslitz, now Kraslice, became part of the Czech Amati collective, however the first saxophones that Amati sold were still stamped with the "JGK - Best in the World" trademark, had the model name "Toneking" and had Julius Keilwerth serial numbers.
A "stencil" saxophone is a saxophone made by a manufacturer that is then sold to another company that literally takes a stencil and engraves their own information on the horn. The Julius Keilwerth company not only provided entire saxophones to other companies as stencils, but provided saxophone bodies for other companies to affix their own keywork to. As a general rule, Keilwerth stencil saxophones are stamped "Made in Germany."
The most famous entire horn Keilwerth stencils include:-
- H&A Selmer Bundy and Bundy Special
- King Tempo saxophones
- DJH Modified Saxophones for Daniel J. Henkin, a president of the C.G. Conn company from 1980 to 1985
- Buffet Expression
- Vincent Albert
Note: some saxophones (e.g. Voss, Roxy, Senator and De Villiers etc.) which appear to have been made by Keilwerth were in fact manufactured by another German company called Dörfler & Jörka. The design and location of the neck screw (which looks different to that used by Keilwerth) is a quick and easy way to identify Dörfler & Jörka instruments.
Most well-known of the Keilwerth stencils are those which were made for the W. T. Armstrong Company:
- Some H. Couf Royalist saxophones, named for Herbert Couf, the vice president of the W. T. Armstrong Company.
- H. Couf Superba I and II saxophones.
- Armstrong Heritage saxophones.
Note: later H. Couf models, like the 3200 and Royalist II were made by the Armstrong company, not the Julius Keilwerth company.
Changes in ownership
In 1986, jazz saxophonist Peter Ponzol was hired as a consultant to refine and redesign Keilwerth saxophones for the jazz market. This resulted in the "Modell Peter Ponzol" alto and tenor saxophones. By the end of the 1980s, Keilwerth had introduced its SX90R series saxophones and gained endorsements from jazz musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Courtney Pine, Ernie Watts, Don Wise, James Moody, Ron Holloway, Mike Smith and David Liebman.
Boosey & Hawkes purchased Keilwerth in 1989 and merged the company with Schreiber in 1996. The combined company was sold to The Music Group in 2003. In 2006 The Music Group was broken up. Schreiber & Keilwerth became an independent company. In March 2010, Schreiber & Keilwerth filed for insolvency. On 1 August 2010 they were subsequently acquired by Buffet Crampon.
As of 2009, Julius Keilwerth markets a range of student, intermediate and professional saxophones, from the soprano to bass saxophones. The ST90 student range, the EX90 intermediate range and the SX90, CX90, SX90R professional range - the SX90R featuring soldered-on tonehole rings (as opposed to more typical drawn toneholes).
Various changes in production of the ST90 and EX90 series have taken place:
- SX90 and CX90: made in Germany by Keilwerth
- EX90 series I: made in Germany by Keilwerth
- EX90 series II: made in Germany by Keilwerth
- EX90 series III: Parts made in Germany by Keilwerth. Assembly and finishing by Amati in the Czech Republic
- ST90 series I: made in Germany by Keilwerth
- ST90 series II: Parts made in Germany by Keilwerth. Assembly and finishing by Amati in the Czech Republic
- ST90 series III: Made in Taiwan. Assembled in Taiwan
- ST90 series IV: made in Taiwan by KHS
Historical professional models include:
- Modell I, 2, 3, 4 and V
- The New King
Most of these historical models were also available with different "packages," such as "EX" ("Exklusiv") which would feature more elaborate engraving and/or additional keywork and/or additional mother-of-pearl inlay and/or drawn, rolled tone holes.
Julius Keilwerth also produced a limited quantity of a saxophone-shaped trumpet called the "Toneking 3000." There may have been other brief forays into making other woodwinds or brasswinds, but there are no records available as of this writing (February 2012).
- Official Schreiber & Keilwerth history
- Saxpics' Keilwerth history (further sources referenced there) (Please note that the Selmer Pennsylvania, mentioned there, was made by Kohlert; the website was sold before the edit could be applied)
- Keilwerth saxophone catalog at sax.co.uk
- Bassic-Sax blog entry on the Toneking 3000
- Discussion of the 2010 purchase of Keilwerth by Buffet
- Buffet announcement of the 2010 acquisition of Keilwerth
- An independent review of the Keilwerth SX90R tenor sax
- An independent review of the Keilwerth SX90R alto sax (edition 75)
- An independent review of the Keilwerth SX90 straight alto sax
- An independent review of the Keilwerth SX90R straight alto sax