Like Earl Williams, Earl
Strickler's name is often mentioned in association with the
early days of Olds trombones. Also like Williams, he went on to build
trombones under his own name, through not in the same quantity.
Strickler trombones bear a notable resemblance to Williams horns,
in the tuning slide braces and the water key design, possibly
indicating a common source for parts. He first appears in the Los
in 1924 and is listed at various times under
Instrument Makers and Repairers" (1924), "Musical Instrument Repairers"
(1926, 1936-1942 ), Musical Instrument Manufacturers" (1929) , and
"Musical Instrument Dealers" (1932). In 1927, he is listed as being
employed at the LA Band Instrument Company.
Earl's expertise extended beyond trombones. Sinclair Rogers Lott,
longtime principal hornist with the LA Phil, played much of his career
on a Kruspe Horner that Strickler rebuilt and sold to him in the late
1940's. I've also heard that Jim Decker, another LA horn legend, played
on a Strickler-modified Alexander double with a Conn 8D bell. He was
also an early influence on trumpet mouthpiece guru Carroll Purviance.
Rudy Garcia of Bones West was kind enough to send me a link to a
YouTube clip of The
from 1956. The trombone soloists are Pete Lofthouse
(playing what looks like a King 1480 Symphony) and Barney Liddell on
tenor, playing what is clearly a Strickler. Take
. There's also a photo out on the net of Jack
(with Louis Armstrong) holding a Strickler.
This particular horn's serial number is in the low 100's, but
information about Strickler is so sparse that there's no indication of
when it might have been made. The fact that it has neither a tenon nut
nor a slide lock would tend to indicate that it was produced before the
WWII, but that's the best I can do. It's .500" bore with a 7½"
bell; the bore increases rapidly through the neckpipe, tuning slide,
and bell tail - reminiscent of the Olds and Williams TIS horns. One odd
feature is the main bell brace - on the other Strickler trombones I've
seen pictures of, the bell brace curves toward the flare; this one
curves back toward the tail. Whether it was originally built that way
or was modified at some later time, I can't say.