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Benge Instruments

Benge Serials

Benge Web Site


Chicago, IL



Around 1934, at his home in Chicago, Benge started making a trumpet based on the French Besson. Benge was a friend and neighbor of Renold Schilke. Schilke had machine tools experience and helped Benge set up his manufacturing shop.

The Benge bell changed from Hand Tempered to Resno-Tempered where it remained until manufacturing was suspended by Conn-Selmer in 2005. Resno-Tempered is a process of hammering and annealing a one-piece bell to shape it. E. BENGE, spelled out with notes on a musical staff indicated the Resno-Tempered bell.

All the Chicago Bb trumpets are .460 or .468.

In 1953, Benge retired from playing and moved to southern California. He was killed in a car accident in 1960, and his son Donald took the reins of the company. The production was 5/week up to 1960, and 22/week from 1960 to 1971. The logo no longer sported the music staff and are engraved: Custom Made by E. Benge in Burbank. Bbs, Cs, and D/Ebs were made.

In the late 60s, Benge produced a Claude Gordon Trumpet but it was not to his full .470 bore specs. It was an adapted 468 bore. The Claude Gordon model was designed to duplicate what he found to be a better playing trumpet in the pre-WWII, French Besson.

The Burbank Benge spec list from 1969 includes the short-lived Jubilee line. These have serial numbers starting with 300, and have details which are unlike any other Benges. The Jubilee line was discontinued because they could not make a significantly cheaper trumpet without compromising quality.

The Los Angeles Period starting December 1970 occurred because Donald Benge sold the company to Leisure Time Industries and production was moved to Los Angeles.

In 1972, H.N. White Co. bought Benge, and built a new production facility in Anaheim. However, the bell still was engraved Los Angeles, Calif. The Benge product line expanded to include the three different Kanstul flugelhorns, the piccolo trumpet, trombones1 and the Claude Gordon model trumpet and late in the 1970s, the rare Benge 7x.

The U.M.I. Period - in 1985, G.C. Conn purchased King and later that year both were absorbed by a Swedish conglomerate and the resulting company was named U.M.I. The last Los Angles Benge horns have serial numbers in the 44XXX range, though there are some odd horns in the transition. The UMI Benges are inferior.

The Conn-Selmer Period. In 2000, UMI was purchased by Steinway, the owner of Bach-Selmer. Production of all Benge products was suspended in 2005.

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