Olds Serial Numbers and Dates for Trumpets and Cornets
When I started researching the history of F.E. Olds and Son about 35 years ago, there was very little known about the early years of this company. I interviewed several former employees but was unable to get any specific dates of model introductions much less exact serial numbers. With the little information that I had and making a few guesses, I put together a few serial numbers with dates. When I got two pre-war catalogs I made guesses as to the dates that they were published. When others became interested in Olds history they added to what I had done. Unfortunately, my guesses were off by several years.
These were all honest attempts at adding to our knowledge, but unfortunately my early errors were magnified rather than minimized. This became more apparent when Dale Olson found out that fellow Olds alumni, Howard Wilson had an archive of photos and information from the factory that he saved when it was being thrown out. This included two log books with production or shipping records of the earliest Olds trumpets and cornets. I decided that we were overdue for a careful look at all the data that we had. I put together all of the relevant information from Dale Olson as mentioned, Alan Rouse of Olds Central, Eric Hamlin of The Olds Register and known catalogs in various collections. The following is what I have come up with. Please contact me with any additions and corrections.
For now, The Olds Register, is not allowing additional entries, but it contains a wealth of information as it is.
Some known dates stated below may be production or shipping dates and others are sales dates. Some are guesses based on models shown in catalogs, using earliest known examples. The rest are guesses based on rational analysis of production increases. The catalog that we previously dated 1930 or 1931 is after 1933 based on reference to Radio City Music Hall which opened that year. The catalog that was previously thought to be about 1930 (because I had guessed that a slightly later catalog was about 1932) is actually after the 1935 patent (applied and granted that year) covering the fluted trombone slide tubes that are introduced therein. Another catalog is actually dated 1939 and shows the Radio model cornet but still does not introduce the Super Recording trumpet and cornet.
The Olds trombones had a separate series of numbers that started in the ‘teens and were higher than those of the trumpets and cornets through the 1930s and 1940s (about 10,000 by 1938). According to Olds employee, Don Agard, who was there at the time, all Olds brass instruments used a single series starting with 100,000 in 1953.
Please let me know of any other data that will increase the correctness of this list. An early 1945 date would be especially useful. The last date below is based on Uan Rasey's memory of getting his Recording model trumpet during his first year at MGM. Also, I know that the Recording cornet was redesigned in January of 1948 but the earliest that we know of so far is 53,871 and I'm guessing that it was made a year or so later and we will find earlier examples in the future.
The second list here is a serial number list from 1952 until the end of production was provided by Olds in the 1970s and has been included in the Allied Supply catalog since then is still believed to be completely accurate.