Friday Reeds | History of the Saxophone
On today’s #FridayReed, we discuss the history of the beloved #saxophone. Do you know all the facts about your instrument?
The saxophone was created by the great instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1840 and was patented in 1846, over 170 years ago! Adolph Sax came from a family of well-known instrument makers and the creation of the saxophone helped develop many other instruments. In fact, Adolph infamously made improvements to the early bass clarinet.
Fun fact: On the original saxophone patent contained 2 groups of transposing instruments, totaling 14 different kinds of saxophones! Today only the instruments in B♭ and E♭ are in standard use. These of course are Eb Sopranino, Bb Soprano, Eb Alto, Bb Tenor, Eb Baritone, Bb Bass, and Eb Contrabass. However only 4 are most often played. Adolphe Sax and his workers created over 40,000 saxophones in their factory in Paris, France.
The saxophone patent lasted until 1866, and soon after many companies began mass producing saxophones. Adolphe Sax tried to fight them, but was unsuccessful and saxophones quickly became available worldwide. The first saxophones manufactured in America were made in Elkhart, Indiana and Worcester, Massachusetts just before the turn of the century! Over the years, the saxophone has remained similar in structure to the original design but has had various adjustments to key work, which are prevalent in the modern saxophones today. Many unusual variants on the saxophone have existed throughout the years, and most are no longer in common use. Some of these include the C melody saxophone, F mezzo soprano saxophone, straight alto and tenor saxophones, Conn-O-Sax, Soprillo, Tubax and slide saxophones.
At Légère, we are always testing and exploring the possibilities of creating synthetic reeds for more instruments, however obscure! Stay tuned for more information on what's happening in the R&D department and how you can get involved!