Emperor Trumpets

Introduced shortly after Scherl & Roth took over Reynolds in 1946, the Emperor trumpet was targeted at advanced student musicians and community band players and positioned as a step up from the basic Roth model. Trademark documentation puts the Emperor name in first use in late 1947. However, the earliest known serial numbers are from around the same time that design changes were made to the Reynolds trumpets and the Contempora model was introduced, ~1949.

The model name "Emperor" may have been chosen to counter an attempt by Boosey & Hawkes to enter the U.S. market after World War II with their own Emperor model instruments, and to protect Scherl & Roth's international import and distribution connections.

1946-1952

F.A. Reynolds, division of Scherl & Roth (Cleveland)

The characteristic nickel-silver bell flare was originally produced as part of the Roth instrument line. When the Emperor model launched, the catalog used the same "Tone Tempered" description as was previously used with the Roth model. Emperor models from this time period are stamped "Made by F.A. Reynolds".

Model 5

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet with "Tone Tempered" nickel-silver bell

Bore: .458"
Bell: 4-5/8", brass bell with nickel-silver bell flare
Length: 21½"
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides
Valves: hand-lapped valves, nickel-silver piston
Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate with bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 5 [SN 24577]. Photos used with permission from Paul Ayick (eBay Member: bulos).

Model 5B

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet with brass bell

Bore: .458"
Bell: 4-5/8", brass bell
Length: 21½"
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides
Valves: hand-lapped valves, nickel-silver piston
Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate with bright bell or gold bell finish

These new "Tone Tempered" instruments are newly designed with a nickel silver bell flare, fused to brass bell tubing. They are all Tone Tempered to give a clear, crisp, sparkling tone. All are quality instruments, moderately priced.

This new Tone Tempered Emperor Trumpet is an instrument of rare tonal brilliance, surging with power. Graceful in design with speedy valve action. Finished in nickel silver and brass - lacquered.

1950 F.A. Reynolds catalog

1952-1961

Roth-Reynolds (Cleveland)

Originally marketed as a "Tone Tempered Bell", the nickel-silver bell was described as a deluxe "Silver Flare" bell in 1953. A standard brass bell model was also offered, with nickel silver trim being the main visible difference from the now-plain Roth model.

Model 5

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet with deluxe "Silver-Flare" bell

Bore: .458"
Bell: 4-5/8", brass bell with nickel-silver bell flare
Length: 21½"
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides
Valves: hand-lapped valves, nickel-silver piston
Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate with bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 5 [SN 35822]. Photos used with permission from eBay Memeber: isoldit.mi061

Model 5-B

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet

Bore: .458"
Bell: 4-5/8", brass bell
Length: 21½"
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides
Valves: hand-lapped valves, nickel-silver piston
Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate with bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 5-B [SN 41168]. Photo source: eBay.

Reynolds Emperor Models in medium bore produce that clear, crisp tone musicians and audiences thrill to hear. Beautifully designed with a fine tapered bore that makes playing as effortless as possible. Dependable and fast action produced by solid nickel silver valves that are individually hand-lapped for perfect adjustment. Trimmed in nickel silver for beauty and to prevent wear at every possible point of contact with hand or case. Available in deluxe model with nickel silver "Silver-Flare" bell or with solid brass bell.

1953 Roth-Reynolds catalog

1961-1964

RMC-Reynolds (Cleveland)

After Richards Music purchased Reynolds in 1961, the product catalog was streamlined and many model variations eliminated. Old model numbers were replaced with new ones that reflected the type of instrument. To the best of knowledge, the remaining instruments did not change, just the model numbers.

Model TU-52

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet

Bore: .458"
Bell: 4-5/8", brass bell
Length: 21½"
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides
Valves: hand-lapped valves, nickel-silver piston
Finish: clear lacquer finish; optional silverplate with bright bell or gold bell finish

Acoustically designed for promising students and those of advanced talent. Often selected for beginners by discriminating teachers and parents who want the added features that the Emperor provides for their children. Perfect fitting, hand-lapped nickel-silver valves with top action springs. Professional type mouthpiece. Music lyre.

1963 RMC-Reynolds catalog

Historical Note

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

Reynolds (Abilene, Texas)

When Reynolds moved operations to Abilene, Texas, there were slight adjustments to the instrument specifications and further consolidation of the product line. 

Acoustically designed for promising beginners and advanced students, this instrument offers more professional characteristics and features than many 'professional-grade' instruments. Hand-lapped nickel-silver valves, solid nickel-silver outer slides, [mouthpipe] and bell flare. Professional mouthpiece, music lyre, modern case included.

1966 Reynolds catalog

Model TU-52

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet with nickel-silver bell

Bore: .460"
Bell: 4-3/4", brass bell with nickel-silver bell flare
Materials: brass with nickel silver tuning slides and mouthpipe
Valves: solid nickel-silver pistons, hand-lapped valves
Finish: polished brass with baked epoxy

The Emperor is calibrated to meet the exacting demands of the finest professionals and most demanding music educators. Unexcelled tone, coupled with lightning-fast response make the Emperor the choice of all serious students. The solid nickel-silver outer slides, mouthpipe and bell flare, combine with the highly polished brass to give an attractive two-tone appearance.

1970 Reynolds catalog

1970-1979

Reynolds (Fullerton, Calif.)

Reynolds sold the Abilene plant to Conn in 1970 and fully merged production lines with Olds in Fullerton. In most cases, a horn would come off the production line and become either a Reynolds- or Olds-branded instrument based on detailing and finish. Emperor trumpets produced in this timeframe appear to be identical to the Olds Special model trumpet.

Designed to meet the exacting demands of professional players and music educators, the TU-50 offers unexcelled tone with exceptional control and flexibility. Nickel-plating provides the trumpet with a ‘dark’ resonant tone along with a contemporary look. Metal valve guides, forged water keys and adjustable third valve throw.

1977 Reynolds catalog

Model TU-50

Medium-bore B♭ trumpet

Bore: .460"
Bell: 4-3/4"
Finish: nickel plated with baked epoxy

Model TU-50 [SN 284022]. Photos courtesy of eBay Member: ellobosoloist.

Model Note

There are multiple examples of an Emperor trumpet with a first-valve slide trigger in this time period. Unlike the trigger found on other Reynolds trumpets, the Emperor examples use a style found on contemporary Olds trumpets—specifically the Mendez and Opera models.

SN 26621x. Photo source: eBay.

The purpose of this website is to preserve the history of the F. A. Reynolds Company and the distinctive qualities of its brass instruments. Contempora Corner and contemporacorner.com are not related or associated in any way to the former or current F.A. Reynolds Company.

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