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It's a bear!

Early Olds Super with Bear Counterweight

With its patented streamlined braces and "tone control band", the Super tenor trombone is arguably the most recognizable instrument ever produced by F. E. Olds and Son.

But it didn't start that way..

This is an example of the original Super. No streamlined braces, no tone control band, and the engraving doesn't identify it as a Super - it just says "The Olds". With the exception of the bronze bell and nickel silver body, it looks just like a Self Balancing. In fact, Robb Stewart had one of these in his collection for several years and was under the impression that it was just a custom-ordered variant on the Self Balancing. It wasn't until he noticed that it was identical to the Super described in a copy of a mid-1930's (date based on the mention of the original fluted slide design, which was patented in 1935) Olds catalog on The Olds Register that he realized what he had. This version is probably the rarest of the production Super variants (as opposed to custom order horns like this); I've only seen two others like it.

Although the catalog listing says that they were available in several sizes, this particular horn is in what eventually became the standard Super dimensions: a 7" bell and a .485"/500" dual-bore slide. The bell serial is 85xx and the slide serial is 87xx - the slide bore and bell size markings normally seen on Olds horns of this era are notably absent. The inner slide tubes are round, not fluted as seen on later Supers (it's possible that they are not original). Of course, this horn's most distinctive feature is the couterweight - a three-dimensional depiction of the trombone-playing bear logo. Olds used two different bear counterweights; my Radio City has an example of the other one.




overall
Overall View
engraving
Engraving
bear
The Bear
tuning slide
Bell Braces and
Tning Slide
case
Horn in Case
braces
Slide Brace and
Cork Barrels
end crook
End Bow