Boston Single F
If you were a beginning horn student in the U.S. in 1925 you might use a
Boston Musical Instrument Company
Single Horn in F

Label :
by the
Boston Musical Instrument
Single horn
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1925 - 1928 based on serial number
3 rotary
11.75 mm
Bell Flare:
vee gusset
Bell Throat:
ca. 6.25 cm
Bell Diameter:
30.5 cm
Base Metal:
Yellow Brass
lacquered (lacquer removed)
(click on photos for larger view)

The Boston Musical Instrument Company
was the successor to The Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory which was founded in 1869 with partners Henry Esbach, Louis F. Hartmann, and William Goldmann Reed.  The company was originally located at 71 Sudbury Street in the premises formerly occupied by E.G. Wright. On July 6, 1899 the building was destroyed by fire and the firm relocated to 51 Chardon Street. Henry Esbach died in 1902 and his share of the company passed to Louis F. Hartmann. About that time the company name was changed from the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory to the Boston Musical Instrument Company, however it was not incorporated under that name until 1913. Louis F. Hartmann died in 1903 leaving William Reed as the sole surviving original partner and owner.
 In December of 1898 Reed had married Mary Brabrook Gale, daughter of Boston businessman George W. Gale (1837 - 1916).  In 1904 management was turned over to the Gale family with her George W. Gale, as President and Director, and his son, Willard N. Gale, treasurer.1 William G. Reed died the following year leaving the company fully in the hands of the Gale family. The Gales had no direct experience in musical instruments making and not much time to devote to the firm. At first the company continued to prosper but following the Bankers' Panic of 1907 it dwindled to a fraction of its former worth as indicated by its tax valuations.2

On January 1, 1913 the company was incorporated, and $9,000 in preferred and $21,000 in common stock was authorized.3 Geroge W. Gale died in Boston on July 29, 1916 and his son Willard Gale took over as president, with Paul Dean, clerk. Charles R. Harris was engaged as manager but his background in restaurant management and with a milling company was not well-suited to the company.

Following World War I the Boston Musical Instrument Company was sold to Cundy-Bettoney. In 1918 the two companies were at separate locations but by 1921 they were both located at 51 Chardon Street. Boston Musical Instrument Company continued in operation until about 1928. On January 4, 1927 the authorized preferred stock was reduced by $5,400 to $3,600, and the common stock by $12,000 to $9,000. The corporation was not formally dissolved until March 23, 1955.

The high serial number of this horn, places its estimated date of manufacture late in the company’s history, probably in the late 1920s.4 It is stamped on the second valve cap shown at right.
Despite the statement on the label that it was “Made by The Boston Musical Instrument Company” this horn was most likely imported. Its bore, bell diameter, bracing, and finger hook are identical to another late Boston horn also thought to be imported, possibly from A.K. Hüttl of Graslitz, Czechoslovakia (compare the bell brace at right) .5

Special thanks to Mike Keller for additional information on other examples of BMIC horns. Thanks also to Robb Stewart and Robert Eliason for tax and serial number data.


1. Ayars (1937) states the year of the name change as 1913, however The Directory of Directors in the City of Boston and Vicinity 1905 and following show Mr. Gale as president and director of Boston Musical Instrument Company. Other sources state the name was changed as early as 1902. At the same time Mr. Gale also held the same titles with the George W. Gale Lumber Co., the Lumber Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Boston,  and National City Bank (Cambridge). In 1915 Mr. Gale and four other directors of the bank, were found guilty of negligence connected with the failure of the bank in 1909 due to the actions of bookkeeper, George W. Coleman.

2. The tax valuation in 1907 was 10,000 but in 1908 it fell to 6,800. I rose to 8,000 in 1910 but then fell back to 5000 the following year. At the time of incorporation in 1913 it plummeted to 1,200  and then to a low of 1,100 in 1915 where it remained until sold to Cundy-Bettoney in 1919. (Tax valuations from the City of Boston Archives, compiled by Robert Eliason).

3. After 1913 ownership and management of the company becomes somewhat murky. According to an article in the Elkhart Indiana Daily Review in 1913, Karl Blessing, son of Elkhart brass insturment maker Emil Blessing, was a salesman for Boston Musical Instrument Co. The same article mentions that Karl Nelson was "head" of the company, Karl (Carl) Nelson, was also a principal in Vega Co. in Boston, founded in 1881 by Swedish-born Julius Nelson and several partners. Later his brother Carl joined the firm and became the office and sales manager. The company manufactured fretted string instruments. Its shop was located across the street from Boston Musical Instruments Company. In 1905 they absorbed the plectrum instrument making of Thompson & Odell and about four years later, their brass instrument manufacturing business at 62 Sudbury St, the former works of Hall and Quinby.

4. A list of serial numbers compiled by Robb Stewart ends with 22220 in 1920, a year after the BMIC was acquired by Cundy-Bettoney.

5. The very prolific firm A.K. Hüttl was founded by Anton Konrad Hüttl (1826 -1901) in 1877, and flourished in Graslitz, Czechoslovakia until 1945. An advertisement from 1913 claimed it was the largest, most modern, and highest yield factory of Austria-Hungary and Germany. In 1925 it employed a workforce of over 200. Interestingly, three long-time workers at the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory and subsequent Boston Musical Instrument Company were the brothers Anton, Erhardt, and Ferdinand Hittl (or Hüttl). No direct relationship to the firm A.K. Hüttl has been established, however, and this horn was made long after the lives of these men.

Ayars, Christine Merrick. Contributions to the art of music in America by the music industries of Boston, 1640 to 1936, H.W. Wilson Co., New York, 1937

Waterhouse, William, The New Langwill Index of Wind Instrument Makers and Inventors, pub.Tony Bingham, London 1993

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