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F.E. Olds & Son

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In 1908 Frank Ellsworth Olds started experimenting with trombone design and repairing band instruments in a small workshop behind his house in Los Angels, California. In 1912 he started producing his own trombones. Over the years, production expanded and Olds moved to a larger facility by 1920, where he was joined by his son Reginald Birdsall Olds. R.B, commercialised and modernized the company, with Olds publishing a catalogue in 1925 and introducing new models shortly after. F.E. died unexpected in 1928, but R.B. kept developing new instruments. Around 1932 the Super Olds line of trumpets, cornets and trombones was introduced with great succes. After WWII the company was purchased by Chicago Musical Instruments. CMI wanted to introduce the full range of Brass instruments, but the Olds plant was not suited. CMI's president Maurice Berlin decided to get Foster Reynolds out of retirement to set up the Olds factory to manufacture the full line of Brass instruments. In the late 1940's, Reynolds, Olds and Berlin decided to target the student musician market and the Ambassador model line was created. Over the years, production volume was increased but with a decrease in quality. In 1964, Olds merged with Reynolds. By the end of the 1970's, Olds was so much associated with student models (of lesser quality) that the owners could not find a buyer, so by 1979 the decision was made to close the factory and auction the inventory. However, that was not the end of the F.E. Olds brand, as the name continued and is still in use today.

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