model appears to have been officially called the "Director"
by Conn (1), although it is commonly
called the "shooting stars" model.
Director is an "updating" of the 1930's Pan
American model (similar keywork, bore size, etc.). This
is an intermediate model and was marketed and priced as
somewhat dread including this horn here because, since
I originally posted this page, I've gotten approximately
100 e-mails from folks with 50M
or other student model horns: folks, if it has the same
engraving it's NOT necessarily the same horn. Notice where
the toneholes are. Notice that the keywork's different.
I am unsure as to the exact end production date of these
horns. It does appear that they were first introduced
in 1955 when the "Finish 25" (brass lacquer
body with nickel-plated keys) and "Finish 56"
(silver plated body with nickel-plated keys) were introduced
-- but the
similar 11M was introduced
in 1968 and manufactured until 1974 (2),
and the "last
Conn in America" (a 50M) was made in 1971. Considering
that the 11M was considered a pro model and Conn stopped
producing "pro" horns in the early 70's, it
is likely that all these horns were produced until at
least 1974 and, at most, until 1980 when Daniel Henkin
bought the company.
are also conflicting model numbers: I've seen some altos
that look identical to the ones pictured below that some
people say have no model number engraved (3)
or are incorrectly called "18M
Director models", rather than "14M".
I believe the former case is because Conn had produced
a few 14M's and couldn't decide on what model number to
use and I attribute the latter to people being connfused
(puns always intended) -- me included -- by Conn model
numbers, some of which were recycled with the introduction
of the 11M baritone (11M was the model designation for
a high-pitch tenor and 14M was the model designation for
a low-pitch bass).
with the 50M, if it says "Made in Mexico", take
a pass on the horn