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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Existing serial number charts consistently show the range of the Radio Improved run as being from 18701 to 21750, which would indicate a production run of about 3,050 instruments. It seems clear that this range is an approximation, and it has been my goal to attempt to more closely define the Radio Improved Range.

This research has only been made possible by so many of you who have shared info and photos of your instruments. In addition, particular thanks is due to the wonderful people at Henri Selmer Paris, who generously allowed me access to their archives and patiently put up with my many questions.

Disclaimers
1) This report is preliminary and findings will certainly be modified as further information makes itself known.
2) The scope of this report ends at the beginning of the Balanced Action run. All later examples of Radio Improved and / or Dorsey horns are not included in these findings.
3) All results are based on primary research, from examination of saxophones first-hand or of photographs, as well as personal inspection of historical records. No other sources of historical information or serial number charts have been used, so all errors are purely my own.
4) This information is being released to Sax on the Web for the purpose of sharing with people who have helped in its development as well as others who might find it interesting; and hopefully creating feedback which will continue to improve the accuracy of the work.
5) If referencing this research, please provide credit as "Pipher Research, © 2015"
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A) Which types were produced?
I have often read that only Alto and Tenor saxophones were produced during the Radio Improved run. But there were also Radio Improved Baritones produced.
I am confident that there were NO Sopranino, C Soprano, Bb Soprano (either curved or straight), C Melody or Bass Saxophones stamped as Radio Improved saxophones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
B) How many were produced?
This number is a little harder to determine than one might think.
The earliest RI I have seen is Alto #18890 and the latest (prior to the first production batch of Balanced Action horns) is Alto #20636. Subtracting these two numbers would indicate about 1,747 instruments.

But there are other factors to take into account. For instance, adding to this total would be any duplicate serial numbers (which did happen from time to time). Also, occasionally production problems or prototypes would result in a serial number not being released.

So, my current best guess of total production at this point is either 1690 or 1703. (see Item C below)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
C) How many of each type were produced?
(based on present best guess)
Alto: 1,139
Tenor: 519
Baritone: 32 or 45 (14 RI horns plus either 18 or 31 RI/BA examples)

The baritone production is split into two types.
There are 14 examples of left bell-key Radio Improved horns in the 18969 to 19820 range.
Then, starting at 20292, there are 18 baritones which have right hand bell keys, and appear to have many features of the BA, but they are still stamped as Radio Improved. I am currently calling these RI/BA horns.

There is also a batch of 13 Baritones which run from 20640 to 20653. I do not know whether these horns are stamped as RI or not. If anyone has one of these horns, I would greatly appreciate you getting in touch with me.

Update: Mar 22, 2016 - Evidence has come to light that at least one of the batch of Baritones from 20640 to 20653 is a Balanced Action. Since all 13 of them were shipped to Selmer USA on the same day (April 30, 1935) it seems to indicate that the entire batch MIGHT have been Balanced Action Baritones. If so, then the total Radio Improved production would be 1690 units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
D) What is the RI production range for each type?
Alto: 18890 - 20636
Tenor: 18938 - 20559
Baritone RI: 18969 - 19820
Baritone RI/BA: 20292 - 20520 (possibly to 20653)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
E) How were the RI horns distributed geographically?
USA: 935
UK: 438 (including all Commonwealth countries except Canada)
Europe: 216
Canada: 69
Other: 2
Total known distribution: 1660
 

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E) How were the RI horns distributed geographically?
USA: 935
UK: 438
Europe: 216
Canada: 69
Other: 2
Total known distribution: 1660
Interesting that so many were in the UK - I wonder why. Was it a particularly big market at that time because of dance band music and proximity to France ? Or something to do with the Selmer distribution in London ?

Rhys
 

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+1
as to the London connection:
"In 1929 Selmer appointed Ben Davis as the UK agent for Selmer, after the british saxophonist had played in Paris and met up with Selmer managers. Davis's British-based operartion would continue to the late 60s acquiring wider distribution right (and also at various times acting as UK agent for Vincent Bach, Martin, Olds and King instruments)"
 

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E) How were the RI horns distributed geographically?
USA: 935
UK: 438
Europe: 216
Canada: 69
Other: 2
Total known distribution: 1660
I find the "Other:2" very interesting.
Do you know anything about them?
Who ordered them/to what company/country/part of the World?

Are they stamped differently or do they have the same stamp as those that were sold in Paris?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The two "others" were sold to Africa. One to Morocco and one to Tunisia.
They are both silver plated Altos.

From other examples I have seen, they would be stamped the same as those sold in Paris, although I do not have photos of these two particular African-market saxophones, so I cannot say for sure.
So far, the only regional stamps I have seen are Elkhart, New York, London, Blackpool, Toronto and Montreux.
Anyone have any other bell distributor stamps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have only seen the Blackpool stamp on very early horns ... J. Heyworth & Son, Blackpool.
The latest one I've seen is a Modèle 26 in the 6,7xx range.

There are also horns in the same era stamped with J.R. Lafleur & Son, London
The earliest Selmer London stamp I have seen is in the 12,1xx range.
 

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Interesting, Douglas!

Can you tell me the body SN on the 12,1xx? I'll have a look at my chart of Selmer Adolphe Saxes and see when they started using the Selmer London stamp. (although they were not Selmers main line)

/Bjorn
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
E) How were the RI horns distributed geographically?
USA: 935
UK: 438
Europe: 216
Canada: 69
Other: 2
Total known distribution: 1660

Here is a further breakdown of distribution - in response to some questions I received.

Alto Distribution:
USA:573 UK:322 Europe:165 Canada:48 Other:2

Tenor Distribution:
USA: 340 UK: 107 Europe:46 Canada:20

Baritone Distribution:
RI (18969 - 19820)
USA:7 Euro:5 UK:1 Canada:1

RI/BA (20292 - 20520)
USA:10 UK:8

Possible additional RI/BA? (20637-20653)
USA:9 UK:4 Euro:1
 

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Hi Douglas,
I had a 18727 Alto without ''Radio Improved'' but has ''SSS'' stamp on it.
Can you help to verify if it is a Radio Improved or Super Sax?
Attached please find those pictures.
Thank you. Musical instrument Office equipment Musical instrument accessory Rectangle Font Musical instrument Reed instrument Brass instrument Wind instrument Woodwind instrument Musical instrument Musical instrument accessory Wind instrument Music Font Musical instrument Wind instrument Gold Reed instrument Wood Amber Gold Art Metal Glass
 
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