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Late Los Angeles Olds Catalog


Late Los Angeles Olds Catalog in pdf (~10 MB)
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 Super French horns (doubles and singles) 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 introduction.

Pages 13-14 (page 8 of the pdf)
This layout features Olds' newly introduced Ambassador and Studio baritones, Ambassador mellphone, and Ambassador single French horns in F(withoptiona Eb slides) or Bb. CMI's goal for Olds was a full line of brasses, and here we see the steps in that direction.

Pages 15-16 (page 9 of the pdf)
The 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 site; this is just is further proof that Olds was producing horns of that sort well before Holton or Reynolds..

Page 17 (part of page 10 of the pdf)
The 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.

Page 18 (rest of page 10 of the pdf)
Ambassador saxophones (alto and tenor)

Pages 19-20 (page 11 of the pdf)
Ambassador Bb Clarinets (in metal, ebonite, and wood), Special Bb clarinet, Special Bb bass clarinet, Special Eb alto clarinet.

Pages 21-22 (page 12 of the pdf)
Ambassador Junior oboe, Ambassador oboe, and Plataux oboe, and Symmetricut reeds.

Page 22 (part of page 13 of the pdf)
Ambassador flute and piccolo, Special flute and piccolo, Super flute.

Page 23 (part of page 13 of the pdf)
Haynes Regular Model Flute, French Model Flute, and Piccolo
Unlike the other woodwinds in the catalog which are branded Olds but were made by other companies, the actual manufacturer of these instruments (the Wm. 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.

Pages 24-25 (page 14 of the pdf)
Brilhart Woodwind Accessories.
Not being a woodwind person, I'll just sort of gloss over these.

Pages 26-27 (page 15 of the pdf)
Olds Cases and Mouthpieces, Rafael Mendez Album
The 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 line 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 baritong 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.

Pages 28-29 (page 16 of the pdf)
"Your Guarantee of Quality" and a second gallery of Olds artists.
Rafael 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.