The Selmer Company began in the 1800s with the graduation of brothers Alexandre and Henri Selmer from the Conservatoire de Paris. Henri started creating reeds, mouthpieces, and clarinets in Paris in 1885. Alexandre Selmer travelled to the United States to work as the Boston Symphony's principal clarinettist. The Selmer clarinets developed a cult following and even won a gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St Louis.
Alexandre came to New York City in 1909 to become the New York Philharmonic's main clarinettist. He created a Selmer retail business in downtown New York with teaching and maintenance capabilities in addition to his performances. Under the supervision of Alexandre Selmer, George Bundy began working in the business.
Alexandre moved to Paris in 1911 to aid the family business, leaving George Bundy in charge of his American interests. Bundy expanded the company's offerings to include selling and distributing instruments from other manufacturers, including Vincent Bach, Martin, Ludwig, and Musser.
Bundy entered the flute manufacturing business in 1920. After hiring George Haynes, he went by the aliases "Original Haynes" and "Master Flute" in Boston. Bundy relocated his operations to Elkhart, Indiana in the early 1920s in quest of a larger labour pool. Elkhart was dubbed the "Band Instrument City of the World" because of C.G. Conn's manufacture. Bundy brought a young flute artisan from Germany, Kurt Gemeinhardt, to work for him in the late 1920s, in response to increased demand for the flutes.
Bundy bought the American business from the Selmer brothers in the late 1920s, while also remaining the official distributor of Henri Selmer Paris items in the United States. Selmer introduced the Bundy Resonite 1400, the first commercial moulded plastic clarinet, in 1948.
The clarinet is based on the well-known Selmer Paris BT clarinet, which has been utilised by performers such as Benny Goodman. By 1978, the clarinet had earned a reputation for being both affordable and of great quality, having sold over one million copies.Vincent Bach, Buescher, Glaesel, Ludwig, Musser, Emerson, and William Lewis & Son were among the iconic brands and makers acquired by the Selmer Company.
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