Journal: January 15, 2011

Greetings fellow trombonists and lovers of vintage brass instruments! Finally, my first entry into my journal! I plan on using this section of my website as a blog/musings/ collection of interesting information on brass instruments and all things in between. I will post photos of some of the finest and most rare instruments I encounter. These horns are not necessarily in my personal collection, but rather displayed here for all to enjoy

I was teaching one of my students and towards the end of the lesson I was presented with an old stinky Conn case… I’m thinking, OK another Conn 2H or similar generic old trombone. To my surprise, emerges one of the most stunning trombones I’ve ever come across in all of the years of collecting! Here is an Olds tenor trombone, tuning in the slide, silver plated instrument with a fully hand engraved bell depicting Jesus Christ emerging from the heavens flanked by Angels. I’ve seen religious engravings on instruments before, but never anything this epic! The detail work is stunning! The instrument dates to the early 1930s.

Turns out, this trombone was custom built by Olds in Los Angeles for one of the founding members of the Foursquare Church (founded by Aimee McPherson) in Echo Park. The artwork covers most of the bell, it must have been an incredible amount of work and time. Unlike the engraving of the Stemberg instruments from Conn, this portrait engraving is not as refined

I’m most impressed with the figure of Jesus Christ, which has stunningly detailed shading, texture and ornamentation. The portrait is much higher quality when compared to the Angel engravings.

It’s hard to attribute this engraving to any specific artist. I assume that it was done by the best engraver at the Olds factory. It is possible that this work was outsourced… it’s almost impossible to know. The style of this engraver reminds me of some of the Wallace and Williams trombones from this same vintage. Earl Williams was an employee of Olds and I am sure had access to their engravers. I can speculate that this engraver probably also did some of the art on Earl’s trombones.

Until next time…