Comments on 1967-1971 Olds Production

I received the following correspondence from former Olds employee Norman Rowe, who offers his insights into the Olds products during the period of 1967-1971:

Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 01:13:46 -0700
From: Norman Rowe

I came across your website and found it extremely interesting. I spent four years guiding tours around the Olds facilities in Fullerton (1967-71). I think I can add a little to your account of things. During the time I was there, the trumpets, cornets, horns, and trombones were made at the Fullerton plant for both Olds and Reynolds. Some tuba parts were made there also and shipped to the Reynolds plant in Abilene where the rest of the parts (as well as the remaining brass lines) were made and assembled. I don't remember if the bugles were made in Fullerton, but I don't recall seeing them. They probably came from Abilene. While I was there, quality control was very high and they were making excellent instruments. Every single one not only got an extremely critical visual inspection, but got played as well. Several of the upper-end instruments (like the Recording model) were still being hand engraved. I was fortunate enough to get a brand new Reynolds TO-01 double-trigger bass trombone made there for a fraction of its normal price because it was a factory second. (It supposedly had dust under the lacquer, but I could never find it! That was the level of quality control at the time.) While things may have gone downhill, they still seemed to be doing a good job of making quality instruments while I was there. And George Roberts was still playing a stock George Roberts Olds bass trombone.

A couple of the fine Olds craftsmen from back then are working with Zig Kanstul at his plant in Anaheim. He's still designing and manufacturing some superb instruments.

Norman Rowe

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