In the late 1930s, Conn copied the Kruspe-Horner horn that was being imported by Anton Horner (Philadelphia Orchestra, 1902-1946) and produced the Model 8D. The initial batch of 8D’s was sold to a group of students at the Curtis School of Music, where Horner taught, for significantly less than the Kruspe models he was selling. In turn, Horner added a tuning slide on the B♭ side of the horn to allegedly position his Kruspe-Horner horn as a newer, updated model.
Based on the layout of Reynolds’ earliest known double horns, it might be speculated that Foster Reynolds saw Conn’s commercial success with the 8D copy of the Kruspe-Horner horn and decided to produce his own double-horn based on Horner’s updated model (with B♭ tuning slide). The Reynolds Single Horn in F was presumably developed at the same time. The Reynolds horns were rebranded as “Contempora” models in c.1950.
Reynolds also produced horns for U.S. Army Air Force service bands throughout the 1940s. These instruments have a silverplate finish and a large “U.S.” mark engraved by the bell rim. A piston-valve single horn was also produced during WWII for USAAF service bands and was most likely used by band members who were more familiar with piston-valved instruments, e.g. trumpets and cornets. Piston valves would have been easier to maintain as well, with service band technicians only required to repair one type of valve rather than two. The piston-valve horn was produced into the early 1950s; known serial numbers range from 3564 to 27109.
Notes and Quotes
This pamphlet was reportedly included with Reynolds’ early double horns. Written by Erwin Mersch (Cleveland Symphony Orchestra) for “non-professional players”, the pamphlet describes the function of each of different tuning slides of the double horn, proper hand position and provides exact tuning positions for each tuning slide. It appears to have been written sometime between 1947-1952, when Reynolds was owned by Scherl & Roth, but not yet doing business as Roth-Reynolds.