Saxophone Forum

by Saxquest
(409 posts)
6 years ago

C.G. Conn factory as it was in 1937 - RARE film footage

I recently unearthed a very interesting old 16mm film reel that has footage of the C.G. Conn factory in 1937. To my knowledge, this is the earliest known film footage showing the interior of the Conn factory. It highlights the process of manufacture of the vocabell brass and shows some of the manufacturing process of a Conn "naked lady" transitional saxophone, as well as clarinet and other instruments. For those of you who are history nuts like myself, this is a real treasure.

It also shows many of the Conn "Old Timers" at work including Jake Burkle and the Stenberg brothers at the engraving bench. Jake Burkle was one of the first 10 employees to work for C.G. Conn starting in 1875 and is reported to have helped build the first trumpet to have come out of Conn's workshop. He's also the only Conn factory worker to ever have an instrument model officially named after him (the Burkle trombone). Brothers Julius Stenberg and Charles "Doc" Stenberg were both master engravers, Charles starting for Conn in 1877 and his younger brother Julius starting in 1883. I did my best to identify as many of the "Old Timers" as I could recognize in the film. If you recognize anyone who I didn't label in the film, please let me know.

This footage was originally published as part of a short movie called "First Chair" that was released in 1949 by Wilding Picture Productions. I digitally transferred the film and then cut out the factory footage section and added some music (all done with appropriate permissions). I've included a link below to it as posted up on the web site. ENJOY!!

     Mark Overton

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