Olds Super Recording Models

When Olds introduced the Super Recording Model trumpet and cornet in the late 1930s, they had been making trumpets for about ten years and trombones for at least ten years before that.  They had introduced the Super Olds trumpet (from which the Recording was derived) a few years prior to this and it had become quite popular.  Olds had been experimenting with new bell designs and it is possible that the earliest Recording models utilized one of the early Super trumpet bells, but in later production they were distinct.  The bell tail was longer, which placed the valve section more forward.  This was somewhat like the Selmer Balanced model that Louis Armstrong had started using exclusively in 1933.  In addition, the second valve was offset to the left, putting it more easily under the second finger.  Olds had made trumpets with the offset second valve previously, but now it was part of a specific model design.  One of these earlier trumpets is #2931 made about 1936 according to factory records, is in the fifth photo on the right.  I sold this trumpet to collector Arnie Ruskin and it is now in the National Music Museum.  The Super Recording trumpet was actually designed for use in the recording studio and specifically for Harold Mitchell, who at the time, was the most sought after for this work.  Harold Mitchell's son, Ollie, still owned that first Olds Recording trumpet at the time of his death.  Ollie had his own very successful career as a studio trumpet player.  I have not been able to determine the date that the first Super Recording trumpets and cornets were made, but they were not yet offered in the 1939 Olds catalog and I believe that it was at about that time and may have been available in small numbers before that date.  Hopefully, more data will come to light in the future.   The sixth photo is Harold Mitchell's first Recording trumpet, serial number 6085 and the next photo is number 6086.  This now belongs to Southern California architect and designer, David Rich, who purchased it from Harold Mitchell in about 1942, when Ollie Mitchell was serving in the military in Europe.  David was in high school and taking trumpet lessons from Mitchell.  Notice that both trumpets have the same, odd, mouthpiece receiver.  David told me that it was installed on his by Dominic Calicchio very early on, to reinforce the receiver.  I have not experience any weakness in the receivers of Olds trumpets from these years, making it a surprising addition.  These two trumpets are both the large (.462") bore that was only offered in Super trumpets in the earliest production.

The Super Recording trumpet shown in the first four photos was made about 1947 and retains the original case, mouthpiece, lyre, warranty and inspection cards.  It also has its original lacquer, showing modest wear from a previous owner who obviously took excellent care of it.  This is exactly as I received the trumpet, needing no repairs.  The over all length, not including mouthpiece, is 19 1/16" (18 7/8" from bell rim to bell curve), the bell rim diameter is 4 3/4" and the bore measures .460".

The cornet shown was built about 1941.  It has been refinished but is otherwise in excellent original condition.  The explanation for its perfect state of preservation that was told to me is that it was never lacquered originally but given to the case maker (Lifton) as a model for making the cases for Olds and retained by them for many years, even after the Recording cornet was redesigned.  The mouthpiece shown is from the period, but did not come with this cornet.  The nickel silver "Tone Ring" was hand engraved on the earlier Super models as apposed to the stamped lettering on the later instruments.  The length, not including mouthpiece, is 14 1/4", the bell rim diameter is 4 7/8" and the bore measures .465".

The last photo is a nickel silver tag that labeled the prototype or shop model Recording Model cornet valve section when it was redesigned in 1948.  A portion of that valve section still exists in my collection, but was unfortunately mutilated while still in the Olds factory.