Los Angeles Olds
Catalog in pdf
Late Los Angeles Olds Catalog
I haven't been able to pin down an exact year for this catalog, but I'd
guess around 1950-1951.
Front and Back Cover
(page 1 of the pdf)
For me, the cover alone was worth the price. It shows front and back
views of a Super Olds double French horn. A small number of French horns
(singles and doubles) were made just before the US entered WWII. Why show a pre-WWII horn on
the cover of a post-WWII catalog? Well, there's a note on
page 8 that reads: "Production of the famous OLDS DOUBLE FRENCH HORN
has been delayed by the full schedule of many new instruments; however,
it is expected to be available in the near future." The double horn
that Olds eventually introduced bore a much greater resemblance to the
Conn 6D than the old Super double. I'd guess that Olds wanted to
"tease" the upcoming introduction of the O-45/O-48, but didn't have a
sample around to photograph when the time came. If you've got really
sharp eyes, you might notice leftmost young lady in the group from
Madison College shown on the inside front cover is holding a double
horn, and it does look like an O-45 or O-48.
Inside Cover and Page 1
(page 2 of the pdf)
Some nice pictures of Olds artists (including the aforementioned young
ladies from Madison College) and the usual introductory material. Note
that the company is still located at 1914 Raymond Avenue in Los Angeles.
Pages 3 - 12
(pages 3-7 of the pdf)
The five Olds lines are presented, each with their
own two-page layout showing the trombone, trumpet, and cornet
for that line Note that the Recording line is not referred to as a new
product, so it is probably at least one year removed from its
(page 8 of the pdf)
This layout features Olds' newly
introduced Ambassador and
Studio baritones, Ambassador mellphone, and Ambassador single French
horns in F(with optional Eb slides) or Bb. CMI's goal
was a full line of brasses, and here we see the steps in that
(page 9 of the pdf)
Recording Model Symphony Bass (actually a tenor with f-attachment),
Super Bb-F Model Bass, and the Super Bb-F-E Model Bass. I've discussed
the significance of the early Olds double-valve basses elsewhere on this
this is just is further proof that Olds was producing horns of that
sort well before Holton or Reynolds..
(part of page 10 of the pdf)
Ambassador Bass Trombne is a well-known model, nothing shocking there -
but an Ambassador Alto Trombone?! I've seen Olds alto trombones, but
never an Ambassador - I'd never even heard of them before I saw this
catalog. Then there's the copy! They were marketing this thing as a
beginner horn, with the idea that young trombonists could easily reach
all seven positions. The marketing of the pBone Mini introduced in 2012
is eerily similar.
The next several pages list Olds woodwinds;
I've included them in case someone is looking for information, but (not
being a woodwind person), I haven't made any comments.
(rest of page 10 of the pdf)
Ambassador saxophones (alto and tenor)
(page 11 of the pdf)
Ambassador Bb Clarinets (in metal, ebonite, and wood), Special Bb
clarinet, Special Bb bass clarinet, Special Eb alto clarinet.
(page 12 of the pdf)
Ambassador Junior oboe, Ambassador oboe, and Plataux oboe, and
(part of page 13 of the pdf)
Ambassador flute and piccolo, Special flute and piccolo, Super flute.
(part of page 13 of the pdf)
Haynes Regular Model Flute, French Model Flute, and Piccolo
the other woodwinds in the catalog which are branded Olds but were made
by other companies, the actual manufacturer of these instruments (the
S. Haynes Company of Boston) is proudly and repeatedly mentioned.
Haynes made (and continues to make) very highly-regarded flutes and
piccolos. I think I see the hand of Reginald Olds (who played flute and
piccolo at the University of Southern California and in a US Navy band
during WWI) here.
(page 14 of the pdf)
Brilhart Woodwind Accessories.
being a woodwind person, I'll just sort of gloss over these.
(page 15 of the pdf)
Olds Cases and Mouthpieces, Rafael Mendez Album
availability of the Rafael Mendez record album and mouthpieces (cornet
and trumpet) indicates that the Olds/Mendez association had been
established when this catalog was assembled; however, the Olds Mendez
cornet and trumpet are not mentioned in the catalog at all - not even a
"tease" that they're in the works. Since the Mendez models were
introduced circa 1952, it's reasonable to conclude that this catalog
was printed before then.
The regular Olds mouthpiece selection is
pretty much in line with later catalogs, except the baritone
mouthpieces appear to simply be the three largest trombone
mouthpieces. Later catalogs (e.g., 1957 & 1958) list a single
baritone mouthpiece, size 10. Also: there is an alto trombone
mouthpiece listed, but none for bass trombone - despited the fact that
the bass trombones appear a few pages earlier.
(page 16 of the pdf)
"Your Guarantee of Quality" and a second gallery of Olds artists.
Mendez takes center stage in the gallery, but notice the instrument
being held by Vincent Clarke of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra -
it's a Super Bb-F-E bass trombone. Mr. Clarke had a long career as a
professional trombonist, reportedly including a tenure with the NBC
Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini.