KING's History

Last Updated: Nov 16th, 2011


When asked what he mixed with his paints to get such glorious effects, the noted painter Whistler replied: "Brains."

Every true work of genius—be it a painting, a statue, or a musical instrument—is a blend of materials and brain and heart.

We want you to know something of the brain and heart that is built into every "King" instrument. For then you will have a clearer understanding of the qualities that have made "King" leadership so secure.

The H. N. White Company is the outgrowth of an apprentice boy's dream. Toiling in the Detroit shop of O.F. Berdan nearly half a century ago, Henderson N. White dreamed a dream of truer, finer band instruments. His repair work and daily contact with musicians taught him the weaknesses of the instru­ments then used. And his musician's instinct could not be content with their imperfections.

Setting himself to the task of making that dream come true, Mr. White soon gained more than a local reputation. Learning always from band masters who visited that little shop in Detroit; studying in every spare moment; and experimenting always; it wasn't long before other cities heard about him.

When McMillin's Music Store of Cleveland needed a competent man to take charge of their repair work they turned to this young student.

But the dream urged Mr. White on. After five years with McMillin—years of growing knowledge and practical experience—he branched out into a partnership with C. H. Berg.

In 1893 Mr. White became sole owner of the busi­ness and then the realization of that dream was close at hand.

For in 1894 the first "King" Trombone came from Mr. White's tiny workshop. But it wasn't "just another trombone." Building into it all that he had learned, blending knowledge with the love of accom­plishment, that first trombone was a revelation to the musical world. Radically different from the then prevailing models in bell, bore and mouthpipe, the "King" trombone was acclaimed by band men everywhere.

The love and brains built into "King" instruments made growth and success certain.

From the tiny shop where the "King" trombone was born to the present 38,000 square feet of floor space is a long call ; a call made possible only by the true quality built into every "King' instrument.

As the business grew Mr. White was compelled to add more and more men to aid in the work of produc­ing "King" instruments. These men were never "hired." Each was selected after a careful investi­gation. They had to be more than skilled craftsmen; they had to have that love for fine work well done that marks the true artist.

Two hundred artist-craftsmen working in a modern, scientifically designed "production-room" (for it isn't a factory where things are ground out mechanically) produce "King" instruments under the watchful eye of Mr. White.

In this very substantial realization of Mr. White's boyhood dream you find your assurance of band-instrument perfection. When you play a "King" instrument you will know that it is what you, too, have dreamed about and longed for.

Never built on a quantity production basis; never designed with profit as the primary thought—"King" instruments are as much the handiwork of genius as were the violins that came from the shop of Stradivarius.

Money rewards have come to Mr. White, but they can never approach the greater reward that has come to him through a sense of work well done. The present-day reputation of "King" Band Instruments is ample reward for all the years of toil and labor that were his.

With every "King" you receive more than a mere mechanical guarantee: Artist-craftsmanship insures you lasting service and satisfaction that can only come from the possession of fine things.

"Kings" are bought for themselves. We do not use testimonials—first, because we think the practice has been badly abused by some manufacturers, and second, because what you think of a "King" is so much more important than what others think.

Testimonials come to us every day—letters written by enthusiastic amateurs, and by high salaried band leaders. And the thousands of re-orders—the highest form of "testimony"—form a large part of our business.

Before selecting an instrument, give thought to what it is made of. If it is wrought of mere metal it may serve—but the odds are against it.

But if it is built of metal and brains and heart—then it will serve your every need, respond to your every mood, and be a cherished possession always.

"King" instruments are so serving, and are being so cherished, by the world's finest musicians.