die(); Brief history of The Martin Band Instrument Company

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Martin Band Instruments Company history

Originally "The Martin Band Instrument Company" was founded by John Henry Martin and his five sons.

John Henry Martin was born Februari 24, 1835 in Dresden (Germany) under the name Johann Heinrich Martin.
He learned to make instruments in Germany as an apprentice from 1850-54 by Christian Aug. Hammig of Markneukirchen (Germany), according to records in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in that village.

In 1855 he emigrated to the USA and followed his trade, first in New York, later (in 1865) he moved to Chicago.
The "The Martin Company" was founded by him in 1865 (other sources claim arround 1890) in Chicago.

In 1871 the factory was destroyed by the great Chicago fire. The family was reunited three days after the fire when they met on the shores of Lake Michigan.

In 1876 the family moved to Elkhart where John Henry was an employee of the Conn Company when there were only six men at work there, but he also worked for other instrument manufacturers, one of which was The Michigan Musical Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Michigan. Because of ill health, he retired from making instruments in 1902.

The second company called "The Martin Band Instrument Company" was founded in 1904 by John Henry and his five sons, in a factory at 431-433 Baldwin Street in Elkhart, Indiana.
Frederick Martin, was the Treasurer of the Company.

John Henry Martin died on Nov, 25, 1910.

In 1912 Francis Compton bought the Company from the Martins, but retained the name.

Henry Charles Martin , John Henry's oldest son, continued to work with The Martin Band Instrument Company until 1923 when he formed his own company, the Henry C. Martin Band Instrument Company. He died on November 8, 1927.

In 1928, Martin acquired controlling interest in The Indiana Band Instrument Company, which operated as a separate company until 1942, when it moved under the flag of Martin to become the producer of student line instruments, a strong growing market at that time.
Chris Holz, a grandson of Fred A. Holz (President MBI from '31 until '48) has brought to my attention that all Martin instruments where made at the MBI plant it self.
So my assumption that their student models where made in the old Indiana Band Industies plant was false.

In 1961, Paul Richards formed the Richards Music Corporation, by merging Martin, Blessing and Reynolds,
(In this periode Martins carry a the RMC marking, which officially stands for Roundtable of musical Craftsmen, NOT (officially) for Richards Music Corporation)

In 1963, Richards Music was dissolved

In 1964, Wurlitzer bought the rights of Martin. including registered trademarks, copyrights, patents, engineering records and tools.

In 1971 Leblanc (The french company that markets Vito and Yanigasawa, took over the rights, they used the Martin name to sell Yanigasawa build saxes.

some known presidents of Martin Band Instruments:
- 1919-1931 O.P.Basset
- 1931-1948 Fred Holtz
- 1948-1960 Robert Stahl

Most of this story is a contribution of Steve Goodson (Saxgourmet.com)
I also found some data at Lars Kirmser's site (Musictrader.com)
Also Jane Hunter Parker, great granddaughter of John Henry Martin was able to shed some light on the early history (until 1912)