Antigua Winds
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  1. #41
    Distinguished SOTW Member/ Content Expert
    Forum Contributor 2011-2015
    mrpeebee's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    The Netherlands

    Default Re: Buescher factory video

    Mark, thanks for all your efforts and posting the Buescher film and additional information above. Really enjoyed watching it .

    T : Selmer SBA serial 50xxx (1952) - Otto Link Florida no USA 10* - La Voz medium
    A : Klingsor serial 016xx (early 60's) - Otto Link STM 9* - Rico Royal 2.5
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  2. #42
    Discombobulated SOTW Member
    Forum Contributor 2013-2015
    Rackety Sax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Buescher factory video

    Fascinating, and much more high-tech than I would have expected for 1924. I can just imagine people of the day watching the video and lamenting the long-lost days of hand-made saxophones.

  3. #43
    Distinguished SOTW Member Hornlip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: Buescher factory video

    Mark, that's great news. I'm glad there's somebody out there taking the time to do this kind of thing.

  4. #44

    Default Re: Buescher factory video

    This is really cool! I find it very interesting how saxes are made. There are also many on youtube showing the making of Selmers, Yamahas, Keilwerths, and P. Mauriats. It is really kind of cool how the ideas behind the techniques have stayed the same, but the materials used are much different. Fore example, instead of pouring lead into the neck before bending it, today the necks are filled with pitch or a soap-water mixture (and then frozen) before shaping.

  5. #45
    Owner of
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    Apr 2003
    St. Louis, MO

    Default Re: Buescher factory video

    Interesting that you mention the soap & water/freezing technique. I met the gentleman in Elkhart who developed that technique. His name is Don Martin. I interviewed him a couple years back. He still lives in Elkhart. He had all kinds of great stories. He was employed by C.G. Conn Ltd from 1950-1972. He worked in the saxophone bell department, at first under the supervision of Cy Klinefelter, who was the saxophone bell department supervisor from 1940s-1950s, followed by Kenny Malitsky until 1967 and then Harry Posthuma until the Conn plant closed in 1970. Don Martin also became the union official and was one of the last to leave CG Conn in when the doors closed as he was left behind to take care of union loose ends.

    Anyway, here's the story of how soap water/ice was developed for use in bending instrument branches in Elkhart as it was told to me by Don. The old method was to fill the neck pipes with pitch prior to bending, as seen in the 1924 Buescher film. After the tubes were bent into shape, the factory workers would then take a torch to them to melt out the pitch. This would leave behind a messy neck. To clean them up, the necks were then left to sit in gas overnight and scrubbed in the gas solution the next morning. This was done in a "gas house" that was set off a good distance from the main building. This was not only dangerous but time consuming and expensive. But it was done this way for generations and no one questioned it. However, in 1972 Don went to work for WT Armstrong to set up a saxophone division. They could not afford the tanks and other expenses associated with building a "gas house" nor did they have the space for it. So, Don started experimenting with other alternatives. His first experiment was with plain water. He took 10 neck pipes home, filled them with water and put them in his freezer. He took them into the shop the next morning in a cooler and immediately tried to bend them. Nine of them cracked and one did not. So, he figured if one worked, it was just a matter of consistency and the frozen water concept was viable. He next tried a 50/50 mixture of Fiberdyne (the detergent used in the tumblers to polish keys) and water. This effectively increased the viscosity of the frozen solution. Don described the frozen slurry as having kind of a Popsicle like consistency. Again, he took 10 necks home filled them with the 50/50 slurry and froze them in his freezer. The next day all 10 necks were bent perfectly with no cracks. It was that simple! Word spread quickly in Elkhart and he said by the time he thought about patenting the process everyone was already using it. The old days of melting pitch were gone. Bach was the first factory to really jump on it and everyone else in Elkhart followed in suit virtually overnight.

    Mark Overton
    Last edited by; 03-28-2012 at 04:16 AM.

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