Rethinking Emperor model dates

As noted in my previous post, I’ve recently acquired a c.1949 F.A. Reynolds product catalog that introduces the Contempora model line, albeit only the trumpet and bass trombone models.

Given this date, perhaps somewhat more interesting to me was the unexpected absence of the Emperor line. According the Reynolds’ trademark application, the first use of the Emperor trademark for commerce was November 1947, while the first use of the Contempora trademark was May 1949. As such, I would have expected to see an Emperor instrument line in this catalog if the assumed 1949 date is correct. But the only model lines listed are Reynolds (including Contempora), Roth and Regent.

On closer examination, it turns out that the Emperor trademark application was submitted a year later than the Contempora application and perhaps it’s more likely that the model line launched in c.1950 instead of the earlier date (which would also explain why no Emperor instruments have turned up with serial  numbers lower than a Contempora).

As such, I’m now speculating that the Emperor line may have been introduced when the Regent line was discontinued and the Roth line became the new “student” model line. The Emperor then inherited “advanced” features such as the nickel-silver bell flare that had previously been exclusive Roth features.

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