Olds Trombone Made for Wilbur DeParis
I have no documentation for this trombone beyond the engraving on the bell. It was donated to the Long Beach (California) City Schools many years ago and fortunately the staff realized that it wasn't an appropriate instrument to give to a kid, so it didn't get much use there. It was brought to me by a teacher to repair the slide action. I explained that the old nickel plated slides never work quite as well as a modern chrome plated slide and the weight of the tuning mechanism gives it a heavier feel. I suggested that I could trade a Bundy trombone in virtually new condition for it and that was what she was hoping to hear. Then as now, Olds trombones just weren't worth very much. I wasn't aware of who Wilbur DeParis was at that time but I was happy to have a custom made Olds trombone in such nice condition and with original case. The serial number, 2739, indicates that Olds had been operating for some time and the bell engraving predates the inclusion of Olds' son. The company name had changed to F.E. Olds and Son by 1924. My guess would be that it was made early on after moving to the new factory on Raymond Ave. in 1922, but it is possible that it was made in the barn behind the Olds home before that date.
I'm hoping that some readers will have found this page by searching the internet for "Wilbur DeParis" and already know a bit of his career. He was born into a musical show business family in 1900 and took to jazz early. Throughout his career he played with many of the greats including Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington but is most known for his own band with his brother, Sidney, playing traditional jazz after the war. I have not been able to find a photograph of him holding an Olds trombone like this, but most photos of early bands that he might have played in do not identify the players. If you have such a photo or reference, please contact me.
Although this trombone is in excellent condition with attractive engraving extending the full length of the bell and appropriate finish, it has been refinished after extensive but careful use. It is marked "M" for Medium and has a 7" bell. The slide is dual bore: .497/.509" which is the bore used on many Olds models until the end of production in 1979.
Several years after adding this page to my website, I was contacted by a descendant of Wilbur DeParis, who was wanting to become more familiar with his career and interest in having this trombone back in the family. That seemed the best course for me as well and I offered it to them at a price that I thought was below fair market value. I hope that the interest in the DeParis brothers' careers continues into the future.