The Symphony model was the largest trombone listed in Olds'
catalog. To place these instruments in the proper historical
context, it must be pointed
out that they were made duing a time when orchestral trombone
transition. An "American" style of symphonic trombone (and
trombone playing) was evolving, incorporating elements of the French
and German styles that had previously been the norm. Instrument such as
the Conn 8H "Large Symphony" and the Keefer "Gardell Simons" appeared
in the 'teens and early twenties; horns in or near what was then
considered the "bass trombone" size range, but intended for use as
tenors. Although the "symphonic tenor" eventually went on to
almost universal acceptance, the Olds version appears to have fallen by
the wayside. Few examples exist, and there is no mention of a Symphony
model in the 1930's catalogs. The largest size tenor trombone
specifically referenced is the L-8, though it is mentioed
"Other sizes from 6-inch solo bells to bass trombones with with F
valve, made to special order." It wasn't until the introduction of the
Opera model in the mid-1950's that Olds would again actively market a
symphonic tenor trombone.
I obtained this horn from Benn Hansson, a Seattle, WA area bass
trombonist and repair technician. This particular instrument has very large throat bell and takes a small-shank mouthpiece.
It's gold plated
(except the upper outer slide tube - more on that below); what Olds
called Finish 3; "Quadruple satin finish gold plate, on full weight
silver plate. Elaborately engraved by hand." In 1927, a Finish 3 horn
listed for $200 - twice the cost of a horn in the basic Finish 1. It
was in very good condition with
the exception of the upper outer tube, which, due a misadventure while
cleaning/polishing the inside diameter, had a significant crack (the
cleaning rod was still jammed in the tube, as well). By an amazing
stroke of good luck, John Sandhagen just happened to have a partial
vintage Olds slide with a lower outer that was a perfect match.