There is currently no available official documentation on Reynolds’ earliest instruments. However, based on visual observation, it appears that Reynolds produced a variety of trombone models in the company’s first decade of operations:
- [A] tenor trombone: brass construction and trim and no counterweight
- [B] tenor trombone: brass construction, nickel-silver trim and a round counterweight
- [C] bass trombone with single-valve F attachment
- [D] valve trombone
Each model was offered in an optional heavy silverplated finish. Tenor trombones could be purchased with a sterling silver bell. While I’ve marked the bore and bell specifications as “TBD” below, tenor trombone models have been reported with various combinations of bell sizes of 7″, 7¼” and 7½”, and bore sizes of .480″ or .500″.
Reynolds also produced trombones for U.S. Army Air Force service bands throughout the 1940s. These instruments have a silverplate finish with a different engraving style from Reynolds’ standard models and a large “U.S.” mark engraved by the bell rim.
Circa 1949, Reynolds redesigned their entire trombone line. The new designs closely resembled trombones made by F.E. Olds (where Foster A. Reynolds was working after selling Reynolds in 1946) rather than the previously modeled King trombones. Models [A] and [B] below were replaced by the Reynolds “Professional” models, while the bass trombone became the “Contempora” model; serial number 22000 marks the approximate change to the updated design.
Trombones from Reynolds’ first decade of operations feature an ornate engraving pattern across the width of the bell flare. Both brass and sterling silver bells feature significant filigree with the latter adding inlay gold as well.
After Scherl & Roth took over operations in 1946, the engraving pattern changed to a vertical block lettering style. The brass bells were much simpler in style than the sterling silver bells and would not have required as much “finishing” time on the production line. The change in engraving patterns happened around SN 9000.
Notes and Quotes
After the Reynolds trombone line was redesigned c.1949, the tenor model produced for the USAAF appears, based on visual wear inspection, to have used brass for the main tuning crook and tuning crook tubes and nickel silver for the bracing and trim. This would make them materially the same as the Emperor model introduced c.1950.