Williams and Wallace Trumpet

When I added a page to this website featuring a Williams trumpet, it was one of only three known to exist, all made between 1938 and 1942.  During these years, Earl Williams was developing his modern trombone models that were to gain him more fame in the post war years.  It has always been assumed that his earlier partnership (1928-1936) with John "Spike" Wallace made only trombones.  Spike Wallace played trombone in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as well as in local theater orchestras.  The two must have seen a market for high quality custom made trumpets even in the deepening depression.  Olds was experiencing surprising success after introducing trumpets in 1929 and Vincent Bach was doing a good business in New York City.  This trumpet could have been made anytime during the eight year partnership, but I suspect that it was in the later years while the small shop was likely struggling to keep full production.  

The previous owner, Marvin Friesen, was given this trumpet in 1941 while a freshman in high school and told that it was a good quality used trumpet made by a trombone maker that had only made 12 trumpets.  The valve section of this trumpet was made by Lyon & Healy in Chicago, although the serial number is not in the series for their own instruments, indicating that Williams and Wallace must have ordered these for their production.   The serial numbers of known Williams trumpets don't indicate any sort of logical sequence and may have been what was available at the time that they were ordered rather than custom made with proprietary numbers.  It does appear that all of the other parts for this trumpet were made in Los Angeles, including the bell, mouthpipe, waterkey, large braces, stop rod, hook etc., allowing a very distinctive design.  Interestingly, the mouthpipe has a seam as seen in Besson and early Benge trumpets as well as the very early Olds Super trumpet featured here.  The over all long narrow shape was in the mode of the time as was certain design features copying Besson trumpets such as the forward leaning second slide, tapered mouthpiece receiver exterior, diagonal braces between bell and mouthpipe etc.  The bore measurement of the valve section is larger than any Besson or Bach from the time at .468", but they certainly were aware of that bore size being used by William's former employer, F.E. Olds & Son and other of the great US makers.  The over all length of this trumpet is 19 1/4" with mouthpiece removed (18 7/8" from bell rim to outside curve) and the bell rim measures 4 3/4".  I've had this trumpet tried by several excellent local players, who all pronounce that it is an excellent instrument.  With such promise, it seems a shame that production of these trumpets wasn't continued, but Earl Williams must have known that his niche in the market was in trombones.