The many Martin companies



  • OK, here's another one:

    The many Martin companies

    1850: Johann Heinrich Martin (John Henry Martin) Apprentices to Christian Hemming in Dresden
    1852: His brother, Gottfried Robert Martin opens a brass workshop at 1 Franklin Square in New York
    1855: JH Martin joins GR in New York at a new shop at 34 Forsyth Street
    1858: The Martins move to 59 Forsyth Street in yet another expansion
    1860: (possibly 1858) JH Martin relocates to Chicago. Company lore says he opened a brass making concern there, but while Martin horns were all marked, no horn marked Chicago has ever been found. It is equally likely that he opened a distribution center for their instruments there, as Chicago was the nexus of all transportation in North America at the time.
    1864: GR Martin relocates to 43 Greene Street in New York.
    1867: GR Martin partners with Moses Slater, who specialized in wood and string instruments at 41 Greene Street. Martin and Slater offered a full line including instrument parts and materials. Concurrently, and at the same location, Martin also partners with Stephen Gordon, but the firm lasted only a year.
    1869: Martin and Slater relocates to 221 Greene Street. Martin & Co. relocates some time shortly after this to 31 Courtlandt Street (site of World Trade Center #4).
    1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroys the Martin enterprise there. The partnership with Slater becomes Slater & Martin, suggesting a change in equity on the part of Martin, and Martin & Co. has to seek out a financial partner, Henry August Pollman, from outside the music industry to infuse the firm with capital. It becomes Martin, Pollman & Co.
    1874: Slater and Martin ends with the opening of the Slater Musical Instrument Company at 41 Courtlandt across the Street from Martin Pollman & Co.
    1876: Henry Distin comes to work at MPC as superintendent, freeing JH Martin to relocate to Elkhart and participate in the early years of the C.G. Conn Company where he learned about modern brass design (MPC was still building the same Saxon style rotaries)
    1878: Distin left MPC to begin a series of brief joint ventures, most notably with Moses Slater building Distin piston valve cornets, that would lead to the creation of Henry Distin Manufacturing in 1881. This forced JH Martin to return to New York to run the shop floor.
    1879: The company name changes again to Martin Brothers when Pollman leaves the partnership and opens a store 2 blocks away on Maiden Lane, which was the Northern extension of Courtlandt Street, selling piston valve modern instruments.
    1885: Still building the same Saxon inspired out-dated designs, Martin Brothers fails. Both brothers go to work as fabricators for Michigan Musical Manufacturing in Detroit. GR remains there through at least 1887.
    1886: JH Martin relocates to Elkhart and returns to work with C.G. Conn. His sons come to work there as well over time
    1902: Strokes force JH Martin to retire.
    1904: Henry Martin and other sons of JH Martin establish the J.H. Martin Band Instrument Company. JH is unable to participate and the firm restructures as The Martin Band Instrument Company in 1905.
    1912: Plagued by sibling rivalry and general mismanagement, the company is sold to 27 year old book-keeper Francis Compton, grandson of an Elkhart pioneer and 4 year employee of the firm. Compton hires William Gronert, who had parted ways with Conn after managing the firm throughout its massive expansion between fires, to run operations. The company begins to turn around.
    1919: Gronert dies and Compton, realizing the improvement in his investment and his own lack of expertise, sells the firm in 1920 to Oliver P. Basset.
    1922: Basset completes a purge of the Martin family from company leadership with the ouster of Henry C. Martin.
    1923: Martin adds “Handcrafted” to the bell crest making a marketing advantage of the firm’s inability to afford automated production tooling.
    1928: Basset, Fred Holtz, and James State incorporate the Indiana Band Instrument Company to enter into the newly emerged student market.
    1931: Fred Holtz becomes president of Martin and remains in that role until his 1948 retirement.
    1937: Martin marketing brings together a team of celebrity trumpet consultants to advise on reshaping the Imperial as the Committee trumpet. Renold Schilke, as the only experienced brass maker in the group, becomes the driving force in the design.
    1942: Martin absorbs the Indiana Band Instrument Co. making Indiana into a brand name. The firm is not subjected to making non-musical products during WWII.
    1960: Richards Music Corporation starts buying up instrument makers. Martin is acquired by 1962.
    1963: Burdened with massive debt and an over-supplied market, RMC fails. Wurlitzer acquires Martin out of the bankruptcy, and drastically changes the product portfolio including dropping the Committee.
    1971: Wurlitzer opts out of instrument making, returning to their former business model. Leblanc acquires Martin. Shortly thereafter, the Committee is reintroduced and redesigned by Larry Ramirez.
    2003: Vito Pascucci, founder and owner of Leblanc dies and Conn-Selmer acquires all Leblanc holdings including Martin. Only a couple of instruments are continued.
    2007: Conn-Selmer shuts down the Martin brand entirely.
    2017: Great-grandson of Henry C. Martin, Richard Martin, establishes the Martin Brasswind Company out of his home on the shores of Lake Michigan. Leveraging the family name and some oft-repeated myths, and ignoring that the family was out of the company long before the horn was developed, he introduces a new Martin Committee trumpet to the market and contracts Kanstul to manufacture it.
    2019: Kanstul ceases operations and liquidates. Tooling and designs pass to BAC Musical Instruments in Kansas City. Using some of that tooling, gathering detailed specifications from all generations from Committees, and employing physics based modelling to optimize those inputs as a system, BAC develops a new, but faithful, Martin Committee to be sold by the Martin Brasswind Company.



  • Thanks for that lineage. So the new Committee is made by Kanstul tools but supervised by people who are administrators and not instrument makers? And bottom line . . how does it play?

    That nesw BAC Committee sure looks sweet but $4700.00 - yikes!



  • @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:

    Thanks for that lineage. So the new Committee is made by Kanstul tools but supervised by people who are administrators and not instrument makers? And bottom line . . how does it play?

    That nesw BAC Committee sure looks sweet but $4700.00 - yikes!

    Feedback I have heard is that it holds its own tonally with the favorite second generation, but with a little more security in the slotting - more like a Handcraft. And with superior native intonation to any.

    And I would say supervised by instrument makers given who is actually calling the shots at BAC. Richard Martin's company is a sales channel like Fisher and Wurlitzer were back in the day - not involved in any way in fabrication.



  • @OldSchoolEuph said in The many Martin companies:

    @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:

    Feedback I have heard is that it holds its own tonally with the favorite second generation, but with a little more security in the slotting - more like a Handcraft. And with superior native intonation to any.

    This would suggest it is not like the original Committee. Greasy slotting was the beauty of that horn.



  • By the way... Thanks for the history here, this has been a really helpful perspective to the Martin horns.



  • I have never played the handcraft, but it is interesting that it has more accurate slotting. I am not sure I would appreciate the handcraft over the later standard Martin due to that feature difference.



  • I have played the deluxe version and found that horn to slot much like the original but perhaps a tad bet brighter.



  • @Dr-GO said in The many Martin companies:

    @OldSchoolEuph said in The many Martin companies:

    @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:

    Feedback I have heard is that it holds its own tonally with the favorite second generation, but with a little more security in the slotting - more like a Handcraft. And with superior native intonation to any.

    This would suggest it is not like the original Committee. Greasy slotting was the beauty of that horn.

    It is a Committee, but its not an imitation. It stands on its own as its own generation. The "original" was the handcraft Committee, designed in 37 and which is middle of the road in slotting. The second generation came after the war and is scary-loose, but has the same amazing tone as the original. The third Generation by Ramirez is too controversial to get into. Kanstul did not build enough of theirs to really gain consensus as a generation or a copy or a clone - but I think one of the later two is most appropriate. This is, to my thinking, recognizing the brief period ahead of the Ramirez models and the Kanstul years as aberrations, this is gen 4.



  • @OldSchoolEuph said in The many Martin companies:

    This would suggest it is not like the original Committee. Greasy slotting was the beauty of that horn.

    The second generation came after the war and is scary-loose, but has the same amazing tone as the original.

    Yes, this (2nd generation) is the one I have the experience with. And sorry, I did not mean to imply the newer version was not a Committee. I truly believe you that it is.



  • @OldSchoolEuph said in The many Martin companies:
    @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:
    Feedback I have heard is that it holds its own tonally with the favorite second generation, but with a little more security in the slotting - more like a Handcraft. And with superior native intonation to any.

    I did not say that.



  • @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:

    I did not say that.

    It's pretty easy to mess up here when quoting a post that includes embedded quotes itself. You have to QC the right side panel to make sure it's correct.



  • @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:

    @OldSchoolEuph said in The many Martin companies:
    @Kehaulani said in The many Martin companies:
    Feedback I have heard is that it holds its own tonally with the favorite second generation, but with a little more security in the slotting - more like a Handcraft. And with superior native intonation to any.

    I did not say that.

    That is a mis-quote of my post - as can be seen by scrolling up.


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