Latest additions/updates to the spreadsheets:
#570, #1519 & #1557 (Jeff Martin); #2593 (Brent Lollis); #2910 (Gary Spickerman); #2947 (Kristin Trowbridge)
#3065 (Dillon Music); #2978 (Tom Connely); #1674 (Bruce Johnson); #732 (Scott Witkowski/Ken Stanton Music)
#2953 (Jean); #2013 (John Laverty)#2905 (Alfred Spriester/Bart Spriester); #2105 (Dave Norman)
#1545, #1590, #2446 & #3283 (Jennifer Olivarez); #2139 (Jason Leon); #560 & #2977 (Wayne Wright)
#5368 (Teenie Matlock); #3756 (Dave Rogers); #24541 (Frederick Dai); # 4263 & #6323 (Richard Waddell)
#7902 (Mike Martino); #6494 (Curtis Parker); #7735 (Jennifer Olivarez); #5816 (Michael Glidewell)
#3837 (Dave Norman); #3780 (David & Dr. Bruce Thompson); #7799 (James Howe's L cornet)
#7233 (Kevin McKnight)
Los Angeles Benges
#16436, #27836, #31265 & #31840 (Jennifer Olivarez); #16920 (Thad Norris); #23212 (Centex Brass)
#17877 (Dale Wilkerson); #17612 & #32332 (Bruce A. Martineau); #9115, #14333
& #27829 (Michael Glidewell)
#15986 (Jeff Wilfore); #42150 (Willie Pogue); #22382 (Tom Pennell); #40102 (Karl Gerken)
#16842 (Wayne Wright); #10102 (Daniel Thieneman)
Lou Duda was the Benge shop foreman from May 15, 1954 (mere months after Elden moved to Burbank)
until he retired on January 1, 1980. His fellow employees made him a pocket trumpet as a retirement present.
Instead of a serial number, they engraved NUMBER-ONE. The bell is engraved with his start date
and end date. Thanks go out to his daughter, Barbara, for sharing photos of the instrument!
Check it out on the "Other Interesting Photos" page!
If you want to follow the travels of my Benge pocket trumpet, it has its own Facebook photo album!
Go here to see where Los Angeles #12654 has been!
In 2015 Bill Karow purchased Chicago Benge #2206, which came with a tuning
slide that has a Bb/A rotor! Check it out on the "Other Interesting Photos" page!
A transition D/Eb recently showed up. #43366 has BENGE stamped on the bottom of the 2nd valve
casing, meaning it was made in California, but the bell has USA, meaning it was made in Eastlake. It's
now the latest LA Benge serial number on the list.
#43284, an LA 3X, has recently surfaced.
It is the latest five-digit serial number for a totally-Los Angeles horn to date. Also added recently
were #213592 and #956591, a 3X and a 7X (large-plus), both with Los Angeles bells and
more importantly, with BENGE stamped on the bottom of the 2nd valve casing.
Bells can be swapped, but USA was stamped on the bottom of the 2nd valve casing for
Eastlake-made horns. Similarly, #42647 is a CG with BENGE on the
2nd valve casing but USA on the bell. A transition horn, in my opinion.
Although the transition from Chicago to Burbank Benges seems clear-cut, numerically, it shouldn't
be a surprise that the Burbank-to-LA transition may not have been so clean. Michael Lee's
#8384 (large bore) has a Los
Angeles bell which appears original, and the number falls
between some other large bores that have Burbank bells. We'll see if more show up!
#01958 is a bit of a mystery. It is the only piccolo trumpet without a model number stamped
on the bell, and the number sequence is strange. Los Angeles is stamped on the bell,
so there's no question that it's not a Burbank. Two theories (please shoot them down!):
1) it was a special order for a special person, or, 2) the Benge Company had stopped
numbering large bores in the old sequence @#1860. That left the 1900s open for use.
Input definitely welcome!
Max Roberts checks in with Burbank #6549,
a 3X+ purchased from Steve Dillard (Horntrader).
It has an A stamped on the bottom of the receiver
and neither Steve nor Zig Kanstul has a clue as
to why that's there. This was during the Donald
Benge years, after Elden's death and before Zig
came back to the company. Brian Douglas checked
in with this recollection of a conversation he'd had
with Byron Autrey:
"As I remember, Byron did not
actually stamp the horns. In fact, when he told me
about them, he seemed to convey that these horns
had been made without his knowledge, but that
someone had told him that the A stamp indicated
horns with some design element he had suggested.
Byron never identified who had told him that. So,
at least as far as my conversation with Byron goes,
the A-stamp is still a bit of a mystery."
As I've gathered information about instruments numbered over 10000, a few interesting
patterns have shown up, similar to what was found with the earlier Benges. It was previously
thought that there was a cutoff point around #43000 between the LA Benges and the move to
Eastlake, Ohio in 1983. However, it seems that the valve sections for some specialty horns
(piccolo, Eb, etc.) were numbered in LA, but the bells were not stamped until an order
was placed. Hence, although Bb #43046 has LA stamped on the bell, D/Eb #43xxx,
piccolo #42376 and flugel #42270 have a USA stamp on the bell. I have not yet found
a five-digit Benge USA Bb trumpet; the earliest yet is #106047.
Since December 2005 I've been receiving emails and phone calls from
people eager to share information about their beloved Benges. I am grateful to
all of you, and I look forward to the continuing evolution of this project.
Here is a linked list of featured pages, with the date of the most recent update at the end:
1. When was my Benge made? Click here and you'll be able to get an idea!
Most recent additions: #12593, #7758, #24769, #7791, #24541, #7233 & #40102. (10/10/21)
2. The "First and Last of Everything" list! Example: What is the earliest Benge C trumpet?
The most recent changes to this list are the earliest LA with 6 on the bell, the only Bb medium bore
with a 1 stamped on the ferrule, the only flugel
with a 6 stamped on the bell, the earliest LA 3X,
the earliest Burbank 1X C trumpet, and the first large-bore Burbank cornet.
More input is always welcomed! (9/11/21)
3. Click here to go to the "Questions and Theories" page. (8/16/20)
4. Thanks to Bob Johnson, there is a new photo on the "Interesting Photos" page.
His Burbank Benge #5744 has one of John Haynie's earliest "tune as you go"
pitchfinders. A different configuration than we tend to see today. (8/19/17)
5. I've built a page showing the very first brochure ever put together by Elden Benge. It dates from
1936-37, and is the only example of this I've ever seen! Special thanks to Bill Hall, who made a copy
in the 1970s, and to Tony Pons, who got me in touch with Bill. Click here to see the brochure!
6. Click here to see a scan of a letter from Elden Benge to the late Eldon Engle, dated
June 4, 1953. The letter was written in Chicago, and apologizes for the lateness in
sending Engle a trumpet, "...due to several circumstances, one of which is making
preparations for moving my trumpet shop to California around August 1st....
My shop will be located in Burbank- a suburb of Los Angeles ."
7. #500: the Sibley Benge, photos courtesy of David Sibley.
8. #522: the Grimes Benge, photos courtesy of Mark Koehl.
9. #524: the Bussell Benge, courtesy of Bob Bussell.
10. #526 & #1501: the Anglund Benges, photos courtesy of Ron Turner & John Baber.
Both instruments are currently owned by Wayne Wright.
11. Click here to go to a page honoring Benge student, Joe Summerhill. He was
an invaluable primary source, as he studied with, helped build trumpets with,
and yes, imbibed with Elden Benge!
I had the pleasure of studying with Joe
in the 1980s, and we played many gigs together.
12. Click here to see the receipt for the Caselli trumpet (#2015).
13. Click here to see the "famous" letter from Herbert L. Clarke to Elden Benge.
14. Click here to see the receipt for the Ficek trumpet (#747).
15. A 1952 letter to Charles Gouse. The best descriptions of the two C trumpet
bells, from Elden Benge himself! Players,
16. Consumer Reports review of musical instruments (Nov. 1951)
17. For the rundown of pieces, instruments and performers from my
Benge Lecture/Recital on February 28, 2007, click here.
To see pictures of what pianist Dr. Kay Kim dubbed the recital's
"petting zoo" (the table full of instruments) click here.
18. How many Benges were made in Chicago? In Burbank?
In Anaheim (Los Angeles Benges)? Click here for my best guesses! (11/29/18)
19. The Mouthpiece Page is here! Special thanks go out to New York's
Dave Rogers, whose mania for mouthpieces is gratefully acknowledged!
Click here to see this page. (7/8/10)
20. Robb Stewart has recently posted a page showing the French Besson (#85419)
believed to have been the model for the Benge trumpet. To see the horn and
read the history, click here.
Robb has also posted a page about Benge C #2459,
owned by Boyde Hood and formerly owned by Bernie Adelstein. It's the third
earliest Benge C to come to light.