I have been running across some instrument brands that are unfamiliar to me. I am acquainted with such brands as American Standard (made by H.N. White) and some of the other more familiar ones, but many are completely foreign. For instance, I saw a ‘Grand Rapids Band Instrument Co’-branded horn the other day and got to wondering who actually made it.
This led me to a term I had heard many times before, which is ‘stencil horn’. But what is a stencil horn? Fortunately, the Internet gives us a great deal of ability to find the answers to these kinds of questions from the privacy of our own homes. On the invaluable Trumpet Herald forums, I ran across this extremely informative post begun by a member named Tom Turner. Mr. Turner wrote an extensive explanation of precisely what a stencil horn is. To summarize, it is a horn made by manufacturer which is re-branded by the seller and sold under that seller’s name, instead of the actual maker’s. Later in the thread, a member named ‘farbewerk’ included a list of many of the known stencils and brands produced by the major manufacturers. According to ‘farbewerk’, the list is as follows.
AMERICAN ARTIST: BUESCHER OR MARTIN
AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL: CONN
AMERICAN KNIGHT: CONN
AMERICAN STANDARD: H. N. WHITE /KING
GREAT GRETSCH AMERICAN: CONN OR BUESCHER
GRETSCH ARTIST: CONN
DICK STABILE: MARTIN
GRETSCH: CONN, MARTIN
ARTIST BRAND: CONN
BUNDY: CONN, BUESCHER, SELMER
CAPITOL BAND INSTRUMENTS: ?
CARL FISCHER: BUFFET OR BUESCHER
CLEVELAND: H. N. WHITE/ KING
COLE AMERICAN: CONN
COLONIAL: CONN (MARTIN ALSO?)
GRAND RAPIDS BAND INSTRUMENT COMPANY: YORK
KING: H. N. WHITE
HARWOOD PROFESSIONAL, JENKINS MUSIC COMPANY: CONN, BUESCHER
GLADIATOR: H. N. WHITE COMPANY
GRAND OPERA: CONN
LIBERTY C.K.C.: CONN
OLIVER DITSON: BUESCHER
ORPHEUM: SUPER CONN
VELVETONE, KEACH & GREEN, PHILADELPHIA, PA: CONN
PAN AMERICAN: CONN
HARRY PEDDLER: MARTIN
SEAR AND ROEBUCK: CONN
WURLITZER: MARTIN, CONN OR BUESCHER
This is undoubtedly not a complete list, but it is a good place to start – especially for some of the older manufacturers such as H.N. White, Conn, Buescher, and so forth. The only element of this original post I would take issue with is the naming of H.N. White as a stencil. In actuality, H.N. White was the company that made a number of brands, including ‘King’, ‘American Standard’, and ‘Cleveland’ so I have corrected the original list to show that.
Today of course, there are many stencils, including such brands as ‘Dillon’, ‘Schiller’, and so forth. Most of these are made by Chinese companies such as Jinbao and marketed to students or players who lack the funds for a professional horn. Some of them are good; some are not.. But the existence of multiple brands by a single manufacturer has a long history, so there is no read that things should be otherwise today. Buyer beware, as always.