From the origins until 1939
Birth of Charles-Frederic Selmer. Like his father Jean-Jacques, and grandfather, Johann Jakobus Selmer (b. 1749), he too will become Bandmaster in the army.
In 1840, Adolphe Sax (born in Dinant, Belgium on November 6, 1814, died in Paris on February 7, 1894) designed a low register instrument which he named the « Saxophon ». He planned to present his new instrument in 1841 to the exhibition committee of the Belgium Industry Fair.
Henri Selmer - son of Charles Frederic, deceased in 1878 - graduates from the Paris Conservatory (clarinet class of Mr Leroy). He is 22 when he enters the Republican Guard Orchestra. He will play successively as first clarinetist in the Lamoureux concerts, with Benjamin Godard and at the Opera.
Creation of the Selmer Paris company: Henri Selmer begins manufacturing reeds and mouthpieces.
The same year his younger brother, Alexandre (b. 1864), joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a clarinetist, remaining until 1901.
Henri wins his first Bronze Medal in the Paris Exhibition. The same year, he starts to do business in Great Britain with M. Gomez, a local agent.
At this period, Alexandre Selmer, Henri's brother, has been Principal clarinet in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for two years. From 1903, he plays the clarinets his brother is manufacturing in France. This will strongly contribute to the development of their sales in the US.
Henri takes over the Barbier Company (a flute manufacturer, rue du faubourg Saint Denis, in Paris). The following year, Alexandre officially establishes himself in New York USA, where he starts selling the Selmer Paris clarinets. This first structure will later become the H&A Selmer (USA) company.
Alexandre Selmer joins the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as first clarinetist. There, he has the opportunity to play under the conductor Gustav Mahler.
He set up a shop in New York, in the 86th Street and takes on one of his students, George Bundy, to assist him.
The 1910 catalogue, one of the very first Selmer Paris catalogues, offers a great variety of instruments and mouthpieces.
Maurice Lefèvre, Paul Lefèvre’s second son, joins the Selmer Paris team. Alexandre, after having opened his first shop in the United States, decides to return to France, entrusting the management to one of his students, George Bundy.
The following year the Paris workshop is expanded and the manufacturing means restructured.
Selmer then counts 50 instrument makers who manufacture 30 saxophones per month.
A new logotype "Henri Selmer Paris" is adopted : the laurel wreath replaces the lyre. Engraved on all Selmer Paris instruments, this original logo is still used today as the seal of authenticity for the original "Henri Selmer Paris".
Around 136 workmen work at Selmer.
Grand prize at the International Exhibition of Geneva, for the production as a whole.
Creation of the company "H.Selmer & Co", in S.A.R.L. form
... also in the catalogue: flutes, saxophones, english horns and
Creation of Selmer–Canada.
Release of the "Armstrong" trumpet model later known as "Balanced", and of the model Harry James.
Maurice Selmer enters Selmer Editions.
Presentation of clarinets, oboes, english horns and bassoons Presentation of flutes and saxophones Presentation of brass
France encounters social troubles and the factory is occupied. Death of Maurice Lefèvre.