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Company History


Website Home > SML Home > History
  • OFFICIAL COMPANY HISTORY LINK: http://www.sml-marigaux.com. SML themselves now directs you here for vintage saxophone information :)

  • SML starting producing saxophones around 1934, 1935, 1936 or 1937 (depending on which documentation you use*). The company was founded by Charles Strasser, a businessman who was born in Switzerland; Jules-Appolin Marigaux, an instrument maker who trained at Buffet-Crampon; and Lemaire, a clarinet maker (and no, no one seems to know his first name). This group is far more famous for producing oboes, English Horns and other medium- to high-double reeds (not bassons, in other words :)

  • Officially, SML says they stopped manufacturing saxophones in 1981 (Fred Cicetti mentions 1982 -- and this is supported by Nora Post). The last SML-labelled horn seems to have been produced no later than s/n 265xx and there appears to have been only King Marigaux stencils available until after 265xx. I've received an e-mail from someone who insists he bought his 27xxx Marigaux new in 1986.

  • SML produced, at their highest maximum, 400 horns a year, according to an SML spokesman. It's entirely probable that this spokesman was referring to production of the Gold Medal, because production needs to be considerably higher to make the serial number chart work: remember: in approximately 20 years they went from s/n 1 to 15xxx.

  • SML purchased the Besson (France) company in the late 1930's, the Louis Lot flute company in approximately 1951 and the Malerne musical instrument company in approximately 1975. SML moved into Malerne's larger production facility and essentially abandoned their old plant. (I will be looking for pictures of the older Besson horns and have posted some Malerne horns).

  • Lemaire died about 1950 and his name was dropped for the Rev. D horns (by 98xx, his name was forever removed from the horns' engraving). According to Fred Cicetti, Strasser and Marigaux then bought Lemaire's shares and the company then became "Strasser-Marigaux". Marigaux died about 1970 and that left Charles Strasser in charge**.

  • The G. Leblanc company attempted to purchase the SML company at some point in the 1970's, according to rumor. This may or may not be true: there definitely was admiration between these companies***.

  • SML was amalgamated into the JA Musik (formerly TA Musik) group about 1986. (The exact date is not listed on either the SML or JA Musik websites.) They are now really in two chunks: SML-Marigaux, an export company and Marigaux, a company that produces ONLY high double reeds.

* SML reports on their website that they were founded on January 12, 1935. Fred Cicetti quotes the date of 1934 in one of his articles and suggests later that saxophone production may have started in 1937 (or later). I can certianly accept saxophone production starting at a later date, as the saxophone was never the most popular woodwind in France. Yves Rilba, in his article with Nora Post indicates that Marigaux only wanted to produce oboes in the "early years". Please also check notes from Joseph Jaeger here.




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