Benge Company Advertisements (1939-1946)

(updated 3/11/15)


An important step in the development of the Benge Company occurred in 1939, when Elden Benge
began placing advertisements in Down Beat magazine. It seems to be the only venue in which he
advertised, and it makes for a sort of symmetry that Down Beat was also the magazine of choice
when the King Company chose to publicize its acquisition of the Benge brand in the 1970s!

All scans (except for Ad #6) are from my personal collection of original Benge ads.
Special thanks to George Sawyn for his skill with a scanner.
These are all of the Chicago Benge ads of which I'm aware;
if you know of one that I've missed, please let me know!



Ad #1
The "Announcing" Ad
Down Beat magazine - May 1939
Volume 6, No. 5

This was the only issue in which this particular ad appeared. One aspect worth noting is that
Elden Benge was not yet a "former" member of the Chicago Symphony. This would soon change,
as he'd given his notice to the conductor, Frederick Stock, in a letter dated March 13, 1939.
Benge's resignation took effect at the conclusion of the 1938-1939 CSO season.



Ad #2
"The Benge Trumpet" Ad
Down Beat magazine - June 1939
Volume 6, No. 6

Only used once, this ad has two notable features. Here, for
the first time, he refers to himself as "formerly" the first
trumpet of the Chicago Symphony, as his final season
with the orchestra had ended by this point. Also, this
would be the final time that he refers to his trumpets as
"Hand-tempered," which helps to date the manufacture
of the early Benges, since, in September, he changes the
wording to "Resno-tempered." Although there is no way
to know the exact date of the change, we may safely
assume that all trumpets with "Hand-tempered" stamped
on the bell were made prior to September 1939, and all
with "Resno-tempered were made after June 1939.
No Benge ads were placed in Down Beat during
July or August 1939.

A remaining mystery is Benge's reference to "the first real
improvement in 30 years," regarding intonation. He makes
the same claim in his first brochure, which was published
a couple of years earlier. If someone has an idea about
the earlier improvement to which Benge might be
referring, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to the generosity of Donald Benge, I also
own the stamp from which this ad was printed. It's
a brass plate attached to a block of wood.



Ad #3
"The World's Finest Trumpet" Ad
Down Beat magazine - September 1939
Volume 6, No. 9

This Benge ad exhibits, for the first time, a number of features that would prove to have staying
power. The new slogan, "The World's Finest Trumpet," would be used well into the 1970s.
This ad also marks the initial use of the term "Resno-Tempered Bell," which helps us to
date early Benges, as it replaced the earlier ball stamping of "Hand-Tempered Bell" between
June and September of 1939. Benge bells continued to be stamped "Resno-Tempered" until
the UMI years. The third new aspect is the use of the "staff logo," which appears directly over
the address. The logo also became part of the updated bell hallmark; it was used throughout
the remainder of the Chicago period and for the first 130 or so Burbank Benges.


Ad #4
"The World's Finest Trumpet - NBC" Ad
Down Beat magazine - October 1, 1939
Volume 6, No. 10

The same as Ad #3 except for the addition of the NBC Staff trumpeters. For the first time
we have published proof that professionals were using Benge trumpets as early as 1937.
Ralph Marterie (the ad uses the original Italian spelling of his name) later formed his own
big band and had a number of hits such as Caravan, Lili Marlene and Skokiaan. In 1958
Roy Nickel, then a student at Northern Illinois University, purchased Burbank Benge #4090
through his teacher, Vincent Neff. Don Lindley's horn was #554, now owned by Randy Murphy.
Lindley can be heard (pre-Benge) here in a recording from 1926.


Ad #5
"The World's Finest Trumpet - NBC" Ad
Down Beat magazine - November 1, 1939
Volume 6, No. 12

This ad uses the same template as the previous two. There are some subtle differences, such as
the shift of the staff logo to the bottom of the page, presumably to allow for the centering of
"E. E. BENGE CO." Also, Benge takes the dealer option out of this ad, preferring that
interested parties contact him directly. This philosophy did not change over the years, as
Benge utilized professional contacts to sell his horns, and rarely dealt with dealers, even in
the Burbank era. Among those contacts was Frank Anglund, who played trumpet #526
during his career at the Chicago Theater. Anglund became Benge's agent in the downtown
Chicago area, and many trumpeters chose their Benge while in Anglund's studio. Click here for
more information on Anglund and #526. Howard (Hap) Davis' horn was #581; after playing in the
Oriental Theater Orchestra he later moved over to the NBC-Chicago Orchestra, as did Anglund.


Ad #6 (courtesy of Bob Birnbaum)
"The World's Finest Trumpet" Ad
Down Beat magazine - December 1, 1939
Volume 6, No. 14

Virtually the same as Ad #3, but with three slight variations. The phrase,
"Write for the name of your nearest dealer" was replaced with the wording from
the November ad, "Write for Free Trial Offer." Also, as in the November ad,
the staff logo has been moved to the bottom center. The only other change is that
the framing of the bottom portion was changed from a solid black line to
that of three parallel lines.


Ad #7
"The World's Finest Trumpet" Small Ad
Down Beat magazine - February 1, 1940
Volume 7, No. 3

Despite its appearance on this web page, this ad was quite small. It will eventually be used
as the right half of ads #7, #8 and #9. This exact ad also appeared in the following issues of
Down Beat: March 1, April 1, May 1, June 1 and July 1, 1940. (Vol. 7, Nos. 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13).
It is interesting that Benge chose to advertise just once a month, as no Benge ad appears in the
February 15, March 15, April 15, May 15, June 15 or July 15 issues of Down Beat. A reworked
version of this ad can be seen below, as Ad #12 (July 1946).


Ad #8
Stamp/Remfrey Ad #1
(The "James" Version)
Down Beat magazine - November 1, 1940
Volume 7, No. 21

It speaks to the nature of the varied Down Beat readership that Elden Benge thought
it worthwhile to advertise his trumpet using the endorsement of two trumpeters
from the Minneapolis Symphony, James Stamp and James Remfrey. Stamp would
later move to the West Coast where he became even more renowned for his trumpet
pedagogy. This ad appeared only once in this exact form, as it was slightly revised
for the next placement of a Benge ad, in December, 1940.


Ad #9
Stamp/Remfrey Ad #2
(The "Jas." Version)
Down Beat magazine - December 1, 1940
Volume 7, No. 23

Essentially, the only difference is the abbreviation of "James" to "Jas." This was done,
presumably, so that the names of the players and the orchestra could be enlarged. This
ad only appeared once, as far as I know.


Ad #10
The Linn/Peterson Ad
Down Beat magazine - March 15, 1941
Volume 8, No. 6

After advertising to the classical clientele, Benge came back three months later with
an ad that showed the versatility of his trumpets, as they were now endorsed by two
players from one of the most popular bands in the country. This was the final ad that
was produced during the time that Benge resided on Major Avenue.



Ad #11
"The Benge Trumpet is Back"Ad
Down Beat magazine - December 15, 1945
Volume 12, No. 24

After the end of World War II, many instrument manufacturers took out ads telling consumers
that they were back in the instrument business, as many of the larger companies had converted
their factories in order to aid in the war effort. As far as is known, Benge did not play a part in the manufacturing effort (although his purchase of war bonds was mentioned in a Chicago Tribune
article from 1944), but it must have been nearly impossible to obtain needed materials after 1942.
This ad also appeared in Down Beat issue Vol. 13, No. 4 (February 11, 1946).



Ad #12
The Updated "World's Finest Trumpet"Ad
Down Beat magazine - July 15, 1946
Volume 13, No. 15

The "World's Finest Trumpet" ad made one more appearance in the pages
of Down Beat in July 1946. The old address on Major Avenue was cut out
and replaced with the Morse Avenue address. This appears to be the final
ad placed by Elden Benge while making trumpets in Chicago.

Click here to return to the Chicago Benge home page.