Model numbers and serial number dating are not available for Reynolds’ earliest trumpets, making it difficult to accurately put together a production timeline. Because actual model numbers are not available, I’ve grouped the examples below by the physical materials of their construction — primarily by which combination of parts were made of nickel silver and which were brass — as well as by engraving patterns. The three parts that were variously available in nickel silver were the leadpipe, the balusters (upper valve casings) and the slide tubing coming from each valve. I’ve identified four material combinations so far (Models A-D), each with either a brass bell or sterling silver bell.
Reynolds also produced trumpets 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. The USAAF trumpet also has a slightly larger bell diameter (4-7/8″ vs. 4-5/8″ on standard Reynolds trumpets) that may have aided in greater sound projection.
Trumpets 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, it appears that 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.
Circa 1949, there were minor design changes made to F.A. Reynolds trumpets: while the overall design and bell engravings remained the same, the updated models can be distinguished by their lower profile valve buttons and flat bottom valve caps. Serial number 21000 marks the approximate change to the updated design. In conjunction with these changes (and with the introduction of the Contempora and Emperor models), the Reynolds trumpet began to be designated as the “Professional” model.
Of the different variants listed above, only [D] appears to have been retained, now listed as model nos. 50 and 51.
Reynolds trumpets made c.1952 and later are marked “Made by Roth-Reynolds” instead of “F.A. Reynolds”. In addition, the main bell engraving changed to a lengthwise script that simply says “Reynolds” and product catalogs subsequently refer to them as “Professional” models. Serial number 30000 marks a general introductory point of these changes.
Reynolds continued to offer a sterling silver bell option throughout the 1950s and early ’60s. The basic sterling silver bell (model 53) had an added “Sterling” word engraved below the large “Reynolds” script, while the deluxe engraving style (models 51, 52) added the fancy filigree and hand-burnished gold inlay that set those models apart. The latter does not appear to have added the “Sterling” designation.
The late-model Professional trumpet was made at the Olds plant in Fullerton from c.1971-73 and does not appear to be related to the Reynolds “Professional” models made in Cleveland (see above), other than sharing the model name. This model appears to have been replaced by the Professional ERA trumpet in 1974.
1953 Roth-Reynolds catalog:
Reynolds Professional Cornets and Trumpets have been the choice of discriminating musicians for over two decades. Graceful design and famous free-blowing qualities distinguish the ‘Professional’ models. Instant valve response with solid nickel silver pistons. Built with either brass bell or beautifully finished sterling silver bell. All models equipped with deluxe Gladstone cases.
1958, 1959 Roth-Reynolds catalogs:
The most glamorous trumpets used by the most discriminating players for over two decades. Fast action valves of solid nickel silver. Graceful design and excellent response. Regular model 50 with brass clear lacquered bell. Model 53 with beautiful sterling silver bell for well modulated and warm tonal qualities. Model 51, deluxe, sterling silver bell with hand-burnished gold inlaid engraving, the most distinctive instrument. All models equipped with deluxe Gladstone cases.
Unlike the F.A. Reynolds cornet, which is an obvious descendant of the King “Master Model” cornet, the early Reynolds trumpets do not have as clear a lineage. The “Master Model” trumpet was discontinued in 1924, more than 10 years before Foster Reynolds left H.N. White Co. to start his own company. The King “Liberty” trumpets carried forward common design details like the Bb/A adjustment ring on the main tuning slide and extended “teardrop” drip stems on the bottom valve caps. The mouthpiece receiver used on Reynolds trumpets is similar, if not identical, to the style used on the Liberty No.2 trumpet.
One source notes, however, that the King “Liberty” trumpet had bottom-sprung valves, different bracing between the leadpipe and bell, and what appears to be a tighter wrap. Instead, it’s noted that H.N. White Co. may have supplied Vincent Bach with valves when the latter was starting out and that Foster Reynolds would have been very aware of the Stradivarius model, to which the Reynolds trumpets reportedly sound very similar when played side-by-side.
Models before serial number 5000 featured an adjustment ring on the main tuning slide for “quick change” B♭/A tuning. This is a feature that Foster Reynolds undoubtedly carried over from his work at H.N. White, where a similar tuning ring had been featured on the King “Master Model”.
The “oo” marking on the valve casings of some F.A. Reynolds trumpets is believed by Zig Kanstul (as reported by Jim Straub) to be a sideways “8″ designating the bore size as .458″ (inside diameter of the second valve slide). There are reports of smaller-bore models with a .448″ size as well; these may be marked with a single “o”.
While the engraving style on this early 1950s trumpet matches other F.A. Reynolds models, the body materials and design is that of the Emperor model, introduced in 1947. The one-piece outer valve casings especially stand out and do not match the design used on Reynolds’ original trumpets or subsequent Professional line.