Emperor Trombones

Introduced c.1950, the Emperor trombone was Reynolds’ intermediate horn and a step up from the Roth model. The Emperor was targeted at advanced student musicians and community band players.

c.1950-1964

The Emperor model line included the “Tone Tempered” model (with nickel-silver bell flare) that had been previously part of the Roth model line. It is assumed that the Roth line was split to create a “good-better-best” catalog offering of Roth, Emperor and Professional/Contempora models, respectively. A brass-bell model was also available, with nickel silver trim being the main visible difference from the Roth model.

Model Size Description Example
15 Bore: .500″
Bell: 7½”
Emperor Tenor Trombone | Materials: brass bell with nickel-silver bell flare; brass gooseneck and tuning slide; nickel silver bracing and trim | Slide: chrome-plated nickel silver inner slides; brass outer slides; nickel-silver hand grip and receiver | Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate bright bell or silverplate gold bell finish | Other: Brass “R” counterweight Model TBD [SN 61123]. Photos used with permission from Lauderdale Wind (eBay Member: algee2).
15-B Bore: .500″
Bell: 7½”
Emperor Tenor Trombone | Same as Model 15 with solid brass bell (no nickel-silver bell flare) Model TBD [SN 6430x]. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: duane5058.
In conjunction with the premiere of Warner Bros.’ motion picture, Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” (1962), RMC/Reynolds sponsored “The Music Man Contest” for individual musicians between ages 8-18, with national, regional and local award winners. “Official Music Man” models of the brass-bell Emperor trumpet, cornet and trombone were produced in conjunction with the contest.
1964-1970

After CMI purchased Reynolds, trombone production was reportedly moved to Olds’ plant in Fullerton, where Reynolds’ horns were produced on separate-but-similar manufacturing lines. One of the results of this move is that Olds’ traditional dual-bore trombone design was implemented on many of Reynolds’ student horns, including the Medalist and Emperor models. Note also the change in bell bracing ferrules.

Model Size Description Example
TO-52 Bore: .485″/.500″ dual bore
Bell: 7½”
Emperor Tenor Trombone | Materials: brass bell with nickel-silver bell flare; nickel silver tuning slide, gooseneck, bracing and trim | Slide: chrome-plated nickel-silver inner slides; brass outer slides with nickel-silver slide receiver | Finish: baked epoxy coating; optional silverplate bright bell or silverplate gold bell finish | Other: Brass “R” counterweight Model TO-52. Silverplate bright bell finish. Photo source: eBay.de.
1971-1979

These late-model Emperor trombones are believed to be the same as the Olds Special, Model NL-15.

Model Size Description Example
TO-50 Bore: .485″/.500″ dual bore
Bell: 7½”
Emperor Tenor Trombone | Materials: brass | Slide: chrome-plated nickel silver inner slides; brass outer slides | Finish: nickel plating with baked epoxy coating | Other: Rectangular “reynolds” counterweight; same as Olds Special, Model NL-15 No photo available
Notes and Quotes

1953 Roth-Reynolds catalog:

Reynolds Emperor Trombones designed for flexibility, fine tone quality and beautifully balanced scale. Nickel silver slides with chrome plated finish are correctly proportioned for fast action and durability. One-piece slides with drawn stockings. Deluxe models are equipped with “Silver-Flare” bells and both models are trimmed in nickel silver for rich appearance.

1958, 1959 Roth-Reynolds catalog:

Designed for flexibility, fine tone quality and beautifully balanced scale. Nickel silver slides with chrome plated finish are correctly proportioned for fast action and durability. One-piece slides with drawn stockings. Solid brass bell.

1966 Reynolds catalog:

Modestly priced for serious students who profit by its flexibility, rich tone quality and beautifully balanced scale. Medium bore; 7½” bell; solid nickel-silver slide receiver, tuning slide and bell flare. Professional mouthpiece, music lyre, modern case included.

1970 Reynolds catalog:

Solid nickel-silver receiver, tuning slide and bell flare give this instrument a distinctive tonal quality. Lightweight as an aid to the young player. Dual bores of .485 and .500 so that the performer can obtain a full tone with less effort. Bell flare measures 7½”.

1977 Reynolds catalog:

The Emperor Trombone has been designed for the young player who has progressed beyond the beginning stages. It withstands hard use and has a beautiful rich, full sound. Nickel-plated for contemporary appearance and sound. Lightweight and precision balance. Dual bore permits a full tone with less effort.