Olds Trumpet 396
This Olds trumpet, serial number 396, is the earliest that I have ever owned (click here to compare to an earlier trumpet) and the earliest that I knew of when I bought it about 20 years ago. Now, thanks to the great work at The Olds Register, we know of almost 20 with lower serial numbers than this, including two of the first few prototypes. The factory records show that this trumpet was made on January 4, 1932. The record doesn't clarify if this is the date of production of the valve section, completion of the trumpet or delivery date. It is interesting, although not surprising that the factory was producing less than 100 trumpets in each of the first four years since they were introduced. Within the next three years, production was over 500 trumpets and cornets a year. More early Olds history is also to be found on my French Model trumpet page and in Dale Olson's history.
This trumpet appears to be very similar to the earliest two trumpets, although this is marked "LM" rather than the "M" on the others. The bore is the same in each case, .453", but according to the catalog descriptions, the bell is larger on this "LM" model. The overall length with mouthpiece removed is 19 5/16" (19" from bell rim to bell curve) and the bell rim diameter is 4 9/16". This trumpet has been refinished in silver with gold inside the bell. While showing signs of being polished very heavily on the valve section, we are very fortunate that the bell engraving is quite clear.
The last two photos on the left are of the Raymond Ave. factory that Olds moved into in 1922 to expand production of trombones. The artists rendering is from the 1939 catalogue titled "The Selection of an Instrument". By that time, they had expanded into a warehouse to the north (left in these pictures). The second image is the same building today. If it is the same palm tree to the right of the façade that just reaches the roof in 1939, it appears twice the height today. Some day, I will make a trip down there on a work day and see if the current resident would agree tome snooping around inside for any remnants of the previous tenant.