In 1864, a musician called Henri Selmer, not happy with the performance of his clarinet, made a vastly superior instrument to any other available at the time.In 1898 Henri's brother, Alexander, took the new instrument to America, where it was a major success, and with demand growing, the first Henri Selmer factory was set up at Nantes, 30km from Paris.4 Place Dancourt, in Paris. For some years he had made reeds.
In 1901 Alexandre moved to Cincinnati, as Principal Clarinet for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He established a sales office in Cincinnati and sold his instruments to many proninant players. He moved to New York in 1909 and opened a Selmer retail store on 86th Street. The store was an instant success, and teaching and repair facilities were soon added. George Bundy, started working in the store. He was a pupil of Alexandre.
At the end of 1911Alexandre Selmer returned to Paris, putting George Bundy in charge of the store. Bundy immediately contacted several American band instrument and accessory manufacturers and added many different lines of products to the retail store,which included Bach, Martin Band Instruments, Olds trombones, Martin and Vega guitars, Ludwig drums and many accessory items.
The Selmer retail store is moved to larger premeses, on 89th Street in 1920 and then again 2 years later moved to West 48th Street
In 1927 George Bundy bought the store from Selmer, changing the name to H. & A. Selmer, Inc. The Company was appointed the sole distributor for Selmer Paris instruments in the United States.During this period Bundy purchased a small factory at 1119 N. Main Street,Elkhart . In 1930 Selmer increased their staff to 17 and by 1936 there was a rapid growth in popularity of Selmer Paris instruments,
Due to the second world war by 1941 all shipments from Selmer Paris were cut off, George Bundy bought the Jesse French Piano Company to supplement the sales. He also introduced the very successful Bundy line of student instruments and the Signet step up range.
In 1944 all band instrument activity was ceased, and the company went into export packing for the government, strictly for the war effort and not untill 1946 did things return to normal and Selmer Paris was again in full production. At the same time the production of Bundy and Signet instruments were growing rapidly and Selmer were firmly establishing theirselves in the student market.
By 1950 the production force has now grown to 52, with 20 in the office.The Company had been bought by Joseph Grolin, Jack Feddersen, Milt Broadhead and Charles Bickl. Sadly in April 1951 George Bundy died.
In 1958 Selmer purchased the H Pedler and Sons factory and in 1961 acquired the Vincent Bach plant All tooling and machinery was moved to Selmer’s operations in Elkhart, Indiana, with Vincent assisting in designing the new models for the Bundy student range of brass.Original designs and blue prints of the Bach Stradivarius have been carefully preserved in manufacturing .
In 1963 the Buescher Band Instrument Company was closing down and Selmer bought through their Bundy Band Instrument Company, a subsidiary of H. & A. Selmer, Inc. The Buescher name and most of the lines were kept going.
The Bach plant and equipment were moved to Elkhart in 1964 and Selmer increased their floor capacity for the manufacture of their woodwind instruments.
1966 Selmer buys the Brilhart mouthpiece linesand fibercane reeds. Mouthpieces are made by the J. J. Babbitt Company.
And in 1967 Selmer acquired the Lesher Woodwind Company, makers of oboes and bassoons. and also established a new Bach brass plant and corporate office building.
Selmer merged with Magnavox Corporation in 1970 They were eventually taken over by North American Philips Corporation. Also in the same year they Selmer bought part of the Premier Drum Company in Leicester, England. The 70's also saw a new case plant, as well as a large warehousing complex.
May 1995 Selmer Industries’ acquisition of Steinway Musical Properties
August 1996 Steinway Musical Instruments,’ formerly Selmer Industries, IPO
January 1997 Acquisition of Emerson, flute manufacturer
December 1998 Acquisition of Kluge, piano key manufacturer
March 1999 Acquisition of Steinway Hall, piano showroom in New York
November 1999 Acquisition of O.S. Kelly, piano plate manufacturer
January 2000 Acquisition of Pianohaus Karl Lang, piano showroom
September 2000 Acquisition of United Musical Instruments, band instrument manufacturer