Foster Reynolds worked with the original sterling silver bells introduced by H.N. White in the late 1920s on their Liberty-model trumpets, cornets, trombones and clarinets. When Reynolds left in 1936 to form his own company, he also produced trumpets, cornets and tenor trombones with sterling silver bells. Reynolds reportedly managed to take one of White’s long-time engravers with him. As a result, the early Reynolds sterling silver instruments tend to have very ornate engravings with hand-burnished gold inlay that are reminiscent of the contemporary H.N. White “Silver Tone” horns.
At some point in the mid-1950s, Roth-Reynolds added a basic sterling silver bell option that provided “well modulated and warm tonal qualities”, but did not have the ornate filigree or inlay. Instead, the plain sterling silver bell had the word “Sterling” engraved below the large “Reynolds” script.
The deluxe sterling silver bell option retained the fancy filigree and hand-burnished gold inlay that created such “a distinctive appearance and sound.” The deluxe version does not appear to have added the “Sterling” designation to the bell engraving.
In the 1959 catalog, horns with these bells are called the “Sterling” and “Sterling Deluxe” models, respectively, rather than their prior “Professional” designation. Sterling silver bells were not offered after Reynolds closed the Cleveland plant and moved to Abilene, Texas.