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date: 17 February 2020


  • William McBride
  •  and Carolyn Bryant


French, American and British firms of musical instrument manufacturers. The American firm also imports and distributes wind, string and percussion instruments.

William McBride

The firm was founded in France by Henri Selmer (b Mézières, 20 Oct 1858; d Paris, 29 July 1941). Selmer, who was born into a family of military musicians, studied clarinet at the Paris Conservatoire, obtaining a deuxième prix in 1882. Such was his preoccupation with reeds that in 1885 he set up a business in Paris to make and adjust them. In 1896 he won a silver medal at the Montpellier Exposition and before the end of the century he hired an experienced clarinet maker, who made the firm’s first set of clarinets. He exhibited reeds at the Paris Exposition of 1900, winning a bronze medal. In 1901 Selmer advertised clarinets, flutes, oboes, bassoons and saxophones under their own trademark; however, the quantities produced were small. A catalogue published in ...

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