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Gustave Auguste Besson started his company in Paris in 1837, with his revolutionary cornet design. After a dispute over patents with Adolphe Sax, Gustave moves to London in 1858. His wife Florentine takes over the Paris factory and as a result, the 'Breveté' changes to the 'Brevetée' to indicate female ownership. Florentine dies in 1877 and her daughter Marthe takes over. In 1880 Marthe marries Adolphe Fontaine and the company is renamed Fontaine-Besson. However, it was not a happy marriage. Somewhere in the 1890's Marthe flees to London to escape her abusive husband. In 1894 90 employees of the Paris factory go on strike in protest against Adolphe's behaviour. In 1895 Adolphe obtains a warrant for the arrest of Marthe, accusing her of robbing him of £7000,- after she sold the London company and fled to Seville with their daughter. She is acquitted in 1896 and moves to Texas, USA.
The sale of the London company results in Besson & Co.
Both Marthe and Adolphe die in 1908 and their daughter Mathilde takes over Besson Paris. This is acquired by Strasser Margaux & Lemaire in 1932. The Paris factory is destroyed by fire in 1948 and F. Besson instruments no longer made. The English Besson name is bought by Boosey & Hawkes. After the death of Mathilde in 1957, Couesnon buys the F. Besson name and starts production again. Another fire destroys the Couesnon plant in 1969, ending production of F. Besson instruments once again. Boosey & Hawkes acquires Besson in 1981 and Zig Kanstul is hired to produce modern copies of the historic F. Besson instruments. Eventually, Buffet Crampon buys Besson and moves production to Markneukirchen in 2006. As part of the Buffet Crampon Group, the brand Besson still exists today.