Difference between revisions of "Ernst Modl brass instruments"

From Brasspedia
m (Ernst Modl serial number overview)
m (Ernst Modl serial number overview)
Line 1,354: Line 1,354:
| [[File:Emo 156 Champion.JPG|thumb|150x100px]]
| [[File:Emo 156 Champion.JPG|thumb|150x100px]]
| style="background-color:#fffc9e;" | 156
| style="background-color:#fffc9e;" | 156
| style="background-color:#68cbd0;" | Champion
| [[File:Emo 157 Champion.jpg|thumb|150x100px]]
| style="background-color:#fffc9e;" | 157
| style="background-color:#68cbd0;" | Champion
| style="background-color:#68cbd0;" | Champion

Revision as of 19:48, 8 December 2021

Emo World serial number 5955

Every now and then an Emo trumpet pops up on Ebay and other auction sites and a potential buyer asks: 'who knows more'. Often the link with Louis Armstrong is mentioned and there are these still available Emo mutes. Little is known about their maker Ernst Modl, who's career started before WWI in Bohemia and ended after WWII in West-Germany.

Emo mute logo

On this page I collected the available information. Starting with his pre WWII career in the F.X. Hüller company in Graslitz, the war years, his patents, and an overview of his instruments that appear not only under the Emo brand but also under names like Ludwig, Buffet Crampon, Rudy Muck, Smith Music Sales and Waterloo. I made a list of their serial numbers. Trying to connect things and hoping for additional information to come. And I researched the Armstrong connection.

Note: This page focusses on brass and on the career of Ernst Modl. More information about F.X.Hüller and their (pre war)saxophone production you can find at F.X.Hüller.com

Before WWII

Graslitz around 1916

The life of Ernst Modl starts on July 4th 1892 in Graslitz, Czechoslovakia. Graslitz, now known as Kraslice, is a town close to the border with Germany. It was then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Graslitz housed an extensive production of musical instruments, brass and woodwind, but also harmonicas. The other economic pillar was textile industry. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 86 middle and smaller textile factories and 11 musical instrument factories in Graslitz. There were also 40 independent companies that either produced musical instruments or their components.

The father of Ernst Modl was named Josef Modl, his mother's name was Katherina. There's already a Josef Modl listed in 1771 as musical instrument trader, living at Modlgasse 371 (549) in Graslitz. One of his descendants was Ernst's father, also called Josef Modl, rotary valve block maker and trader of wind and string instruments in the early 1900's at Modlgasse 542/786 in Graslitz, with his workshop founded in 1848. In 1913 Josef Modl is listed along with F.X.Hüller as one of the two Graslitz makers that participate in the newly registered O.Hebron export firm in Berlin, together with a lot of Markneukirchen based traders.

Until WWI the city was booming. In the years of the First World War, the economic boom stagnated. In 1918, Austria-Hungary, to which Graslitz belonged, disintegrated, and the Czechoslovak Republic was founded. After WWI production in Graslitz quickly recovered and at a time there were 59 musical instrument manufacturers in the area including such names as Bohland & Fuchs, F.X.Hüller, A.K. Hüttl and Julius Keilwerth.  

Ernst Modl Metallwarenfabrik

From ca. 1918 till 10-05-1920 Ernst Modl is listed as maker of rotary valve blocks (G.Dullat). In the catalog '400 Jahre Musikinstrumentenbau in Graslitz' Dullat also mentions Josef Modl at Modlgasse 542 (786), and he states that it's the same as Ernst Modl at Modlgasse 786, who's listed as 'Maschinen- und Metalblassinstrumentenbau sowie Herstellung von Geschossteilen". That could mean that Ernst was a son of Josef, wouldn't it?

ERNST MODL Metallwarenfabrik GRASLITZ i. Böhmen, source: Elektrotechnik und Maschinenbau, Volume 37, Nummer 8, edited by Elektrotechnischer Verein in Wien, 1919

The magazine Elektrotechnik und Machinenbau, Volume 37, Nr 8 has an ad on April 6th 1919 of Ernst Modl Metallwarenfabrik, Graslitz i. Böhmen (Bohemia), producing of all kinds of nipples, clamps and sheet metal screens. 'Best prices. Best performance. Fast delivery.' the ads says. It doesn't give a street name/address. So Ernst started a workshop on his own.

F.X Hüller & Co

On 09/06/1919 Ernst Modl marries Philippine Hüller, the daughter of Franz Xaver Hüller. In 1922 a daughter is born. His father-in-law F.X. Hüller was a leading instrument maker in Graslitz. By 1910 Hüller had 200-250 people at work. He built and traded wind instruments and stringed instruments. Hüller, born on December 29th of 1856, in the nearby Pechbach founded his factory in 1882. He then bought the ruïns of the 'Knappschaftsmühle', a burnt mill, and on that spot in 1898 he had a factory and a house built. The factory was known as the 'Schied-Fabrik'. The address was Eibenbergerstrasse 440, now called Wolkerova in the Grunberg part of Graslitz (now: Zelená Horá in Kraslice). House nr 1066 is right behind the factory and is the Hüller villa at the Knappschaftsgasse/Nerudova (cást).

The F.X. Hüller & Co factory and house around 1920, source: Hüller & Co catalog
Franz Xaver Hüller (1856-1936)

Ernst Modl joined the company in 1919 after he married Philippine. Her sister Susanne had married Anton Riedl (6/6/1884-11/25/1935) in 1911, he joined the Hüller company in 1911. (note: this Anton Riedl is another one than the maker of the Arigra octagonal trumpets).

In 1920 on the first of March Modl and Riedl together with Philippine and Susanne Hüller became partners in the company (Hüller himself was aged 63 by then). On March 29th 1920 the name of the company changed therefore in F.X.Hüller & Co (F.X.Hüller a Spol in Czech). Modl took on the role of the inventor and craftsman, while Riedl took care of the management and the sales. (Uwe Ladwig). 'He never built an instrument' (Rippert)

Hüller & Co Trade registry entry source:Zeitschrift für Musikinstrumentenbau 1921

In 1921 they were enlisted in the trade register in Markneukirchen, Hüller as manufacturer, Modl and Riedl as Kaufmann (businessman), with the addition that their wives were not allowed to represent the company. In 1929/1930 they are still listed in the Markneukirchen address book. Hüller & Co was one of the first Bohemian factories to establish a branch in Markneukirchen. In 1929 he is listed there at the address Roter Markt 13, and later on in Klingenthal, both only a few kilometres away from Graslitz but then part of the German Empire. The instrument makers in Bohemia exported a lot. Their branches in Saxonian Vogtland helped to get their products al over the world. Especially when they had to deal with the big market crisis and growing tariff barriers as a result of that in the early thirties.


In 1923 F.X. Hüller & Co starts with the production of saxophones, first led by Max Keilwerth. Other departments of the company provide brass instruments and parts, signal horns, drums and cymbals, valve blocks (piston and rotary) and string instruments and parts. There is a saxophone catalog from F.X.Hüller & Co with World saxophones, to be dated around this time (see: F.X.Huller.com). This catalog states in it's english text that Hüller wants to secure his place amongst the leading manufactures of musical instruments. The German text is more explicit: it says that they can take the first place already. Thanks to 'a staff of hardworking and thoroughbred assistants, both technical and mercantile', which seems to be a reference to Riedl and Modl.

In the twenties F.X.Hüller & Co also starts with English model names for his brass and saxophones. In a 1920's catalog World is the name of the most luxurious saxophones. There's also a new 'jazzy' logo that's found on the '1923' catalog and on a 1924 F.X.Hüller & Co letterhead.

The jazzy logo is also found on instruments that went to Romania (Georg Huber, Timisoara, a shop for musical instruments 'representative' for Hüller) and Germany (C.A.Wunderlich, a trader in Siebenbrunn in Vogtland, close to Graslitz on the other side of the border.)

The World logo is also found on this F tuba with top action rotary valves, built after a 1929 patent from Hüller. See also the Top action rotary valve trumpets page.

A very rare bird is this bariton horn with the new World logo but also the brand name Hüriemo. Which is an acronym for HÜller, RIedl and MOdl. A common practice in Graslitz and the nearby Markneukirchen. But so far I found only one instrument with this name. Maybe they choose pretty fast to use only the World model names.

Two F.X.Hüller & Co, Graslitz Czechoslovakia baritone horn with jazzy World logo. The one to the right is also branded Hüriemo, the one to the left has a lowered pitch

F.X. Hüller ad from 1929, mentioning the Hüriemo brand and also the Jazzophone as a novelty.

Several years later in 1932, an additional catalog presents the cheaper Professional and Champion models and next to the World model there is a World de Luxe series (called World Luxus on the German market), for saxophones, trumpets and trombones. (The mutes offered in this catalog are from the Shastock and Jedson brand.)

F.X.Hüller & Co ad with the model names Professional, Champion and World

In the early thirties Hüller & Co trumpets had one or two straight braces in the main tuning slide. Horn-u-copia features an early Hüller & Co trumpet with straight braces and a naked lady, a feature that was made famous by C.G.Conn.

F.X.Hüller & Co World (left) and World Luxus (right) trumpets, both with a naked lady on the bell, source:Horn-u-copia

And here's a World Luxus, beautifully decorated and also with the naked lady.

F.X.Hüller World Luxus, source Auktionshaus Mehlis, 2018

F.X.Hüller & Co catalog pages from around 1932

At the end of the thirties the braces of the trumpets are bent in a way that reminds of the King Liberty trumpet models. The naked lady and the jazzy World logo disappear in favour of Art Deco styled engravings of the model names.

F.X.Hüller a spol, Kraslice, Champion trumpet, left: valve numbers 31,32,33, right: valve numbers 94,95,96

F.X.Hüller & Co World trumpet

F.X.Hüller & Co World Super a spol Kraslice trumpet

In a F.X. Hüller & Co catalog dated 1939 the Professional model seems to have disappeared, and a World Super model is added, between the World and the World de Luxe. According to this catalog the World de Luxe is also available with hexagonal valve blocks, finger rings and waterkeys. A wink to the Arigra like trumpets of the time.

Pages from a F.X.Hüller & Co catalog dated 1939, source: FXHuller.com.

A F.X.Hüller & Co World, Graslitz, Sudetengau. That means it's from 1938 or later. source: ebay.de 2020

Some more F.X.Hüller & Co labelled instruments

F.X.Hüller a spol, Kraslice Champion trombone

F.X.Hüller a spol, Kraslice, World trombone

F.X.Hüller & Co, Graslitz bombardino with World logo, source: milanuncios.com

F.X.Hüller & Co, Graslitz sousaphon, traded by G.Huber in Romania.

F.X.Hüller & Co, Graslitz C.S.R, kaiserbas, 123 cm high and a bell diameter of 61 cm, coll.Uwe Schneider

There are only a few F.X.Hüller & Co labelled (brass) instruments around, the main reason being that it were mainly the traders that put their name on the instruments, not the makers. Or there was no name at all to be found. I haven't started to research those F.X.Hüller & Co brass instrument stencils. Only one example I researched extensively: the Jazzophone, I found some 30 Jazzophones. I believe most of them were made by Hüller & Co, but only one bears their name. Five are branded C.A. Wunderlich, a trader from the nearby Siebenbrunn, one is named Johan Michl & Sohn, another Graslitz instrument maker. The others have no name as far as I know. I don't know if that's representative for the Hüller brass production as a whole, but it might be an indication. On the fxhuller.com site you'll find an impressive overview of the Hüller saxophone stencil production. Again: I don't know if that's representative for the brass production, but it gives an idea. Chasing 'Hüller' saxophone stencils turns out to be possible, for brass instruments it's really difficult, partly because there are so few "Hüller & Co brass instruments around, and also because brass instrument don't have as many 'details' to recognize and compare as saxophones...

Between 1926 and 1932 the company had listed various (D.R.G.M.) patents, like the one for the Jazzophon (1926: DRGM 995305), and one for Top action rotary valve trumpets(1929: DRGM 1087757, 1088742).

D.R.G.M. announcement in Zeitschrift instrumentenbau Heft 7 Band 47
catalog F.X .Hüller & Co p. 13 ca. 1930, source fxhuller.com

The Jazzophone and the Top action rotary valve trumpets were inspired by the jazz craze that came over from the US. As did the exploded production of saxophones.

Ernst Modl might be behind these F.X.Hüller & Co patents as Hüller himself was already in his 70's by then and Modl has a reputation as 'inventor' and listed a lot more patents after WWII (see below).

F.X.Hüller a Spol, Graslitz, top action rotary valve trumpet, model Champion

F.X Hüller & Co ad with the Jazzophon, source Artist 48, 1930
F.X.Hüller & Co catalog page with Jazzophon, ca. 1930

In 1935 Anton Riedl dies at the age of 51. He is skipped as partner. One year later, in 1936 Franz Xaver Hüller passes away aged 80. That means that Ernst Modl was the only acting director of the company as of then. Riedl had been in charge of the management and sales aspects of the business and the firm suffered as a result of his death; 'the company began to lurch' as Uwe Ladwig says. The death of Riedl wasn't the only factor I guess, the musical instrument business around Graslitz (and the nearby Vogtland) was declining as a whole since the world crisis of 1929. Unemployment in Graslitz reached a climax in 1934 at 37.9% of all working people.

In 1936 the company wanted to start a workshop in Klingenthal but this project apparently failed due to the objection of the Czech Ministry of Economic Affairs, as the branch would have caused considerable damage to the industry's carry-over, so Gunther Dullat. Later they did open a branch in Klingenthal. By then F.X.Hüller & Co was one of the biggest companies in town along with Bohland & Fuchs (500 employees), A.K. Hüttl (350), V.Kohlert (300), Stowasser and textile firms like J. L. Ball &Co (500), Durst & Krey (150), Stark & Köstler (700)

In an adress overview of Graslitz that's dated around 1938 'F.K. Hüller' is still listed on Knapschaftsgasse nr 1066, the villa next to the factory. But at a certain point Ernst Modl and his family must have moved in, because at the end of the war they are registered at this address. As a side note, Pavel Palůch notes in an article in 'Sokolovsko' that former German residents of Kraslice remember Ernst Modl as a member of the German Theater Association ("Deutscher Theaterverein ”), where from the founding until the takeover of the association by the former German Labor Front (“ Deutsche Arbeitsfront ”) he was available as a director and very often together with his wife as an actor.


In 1938 Graslitz (by then more than 35.000 inhabitants) and Sudetenland as a whole became occupied by Nazi-Germany. October 1st saw Wehrmacht forces invading the territory.

Adolf Hitler passes through Graslitz on October 4th 1938, source:Bundesarchiv

On October 4rd Adolf Hitler came along in Graslitz. As a result of the Munich Agreement Graslitz in 1938 was incorporated into the German Reich. From then until 1945, Kraslice was the district of Graslitz in the administrative district of Eger in the Reichsgau Sudetenland.

Military horns

As of 1939 F.X.Hüller & Co and other factories were used to build aircraft parts and war equipment. (Dullat 400). But in those years there were still all kind of instruments made. Traditionally Hüller had built instruments for the military. The tenor horn and the alto sax with WL inscription below were built for the music corpses of the airforce (Wehrmacht Luftwaffe), the horn for the music corps of Gebirgsjäger Regiment 139 (Mountaneer regiment).

Inscribed on bell "II. / Geb. Jäg. Rgt. 139 / F.X. HÜLLER & CO. / GRASLITZ / SUDETENGAU / 1939"; on valve bottom caps "45", "43", "44". coll.: Edinburgh Musical Instrument Museum

Alto saxophone F.X.Hüller & Co Graslitz Sudetengau No. 942 WL Copyright 1938

Hüller produced also bugles for the Hitler Jugend and the German Army. They all have a year of production engraved.

Hitler Jugend bugle F.X. HÜLLER & CO, GRASLITZ, 1939, source: Collectors Guild Inc germanmilitaria.com

Each Hitler Jugend Bann had a band and each Stamm had a Drum & Fife or Drum & Bugle Corps. The bugles were modeled after the old Army pattern and were tuned to "C". Brass and German nickel/silver construction. The chain is to secure the mouth piece to the bugle. Total height is approximately 28cm. It has a raised HJ pattern eagle, clutching a sword and hammer with swastika superimposed to breast, to horn top.

I found several army bugles.

A seller of one of the army signal horn adds: these were carried by German soldiers throughout the war. Most of the photos of these are from the early war period when the Germans still had enough infantry soldiers that they could launch large scale infantry type offensive operations.

It's interesting that, where Hüller & Co never dated their instruments (and in the case of brass even no serial numbers are known) these instruments are all dated 1939.

World War II German Army Signal Bugle. F.X. Huller & Co, Graslitz, 1940 source: Ebay.fr

I found one similar F.X.Hüller & Co bugle dated 1940 and that's it for now. As far as I know no other dates are found on instruments (except from the 'Copyright 1938' date on saxophones, which refers to a Herbert Menge patent, but that's a different story). The other thing is that these instruments are all related to the military. Was there an obligation (from the Nazis) to produce instruments only for the army (and Hitler Jugend...). Had they to be dated because of the scarse copper? Similar dating is found on WWII bugles from other makers, on bugles around WW1 and on UK bugles.

Ernst Modl claimed a patent at the German Reich patent office (of which Czechoslovakia now was part) for a ball joint connection for rotary valves in wind instruments. He claimed it October 4th 1940 it was granted on December 24th 1942 and published in Januar 1943. The full text of this patent, nr DE000000730876A in PDF at the bottom of this page.

Soon afterwards production of musical instruments stopped completely. The company is said to have been closed during World War 2. But, like other factories, the premisses were used for war production.

War economy

After the annexation Sudetenland was quickly incorporated in the German war economy. The territory of the Czech Republic was considered fairly safe from bombings during the Nazi regime. Especially in the final stages of World War II, this lead the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Flossenbürg (eastern Bavaria) und Groß-Rosen (Lower Silesia) to establish an extensive system of subcamps for armament production in the Sudetengau, the border areas which had been annexed by the German "Reich" in 1938, and in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia. In the Sudetengau, there was neither war equipment nor ammunition production before the outbreak of war. Therefore new businesses had to be created. The most important new forges in the Sudeten area were state-owned companies built according to the "Montan scheme". The Montan scheme was based on trust agreements between the German Reich and the private sector. Private companies (parent companies) received an order from the Army Inspectorate (HWA) for the construction of an armaments company at government expense. A shell contract was concluded between a parent company and the HWA and a subsidiary was founded, which leased the plant from the army's own society for Montanindustrie GmbH (Montan GmbH). In this way, at least 119 companies were created by the end of the war, employing 190,000 people on November 1, 1944. According to this principle, six large arms factories were founded in the Sudetengau in 1939-1940, which were generally treated preferentially in the allocation of labor. Nevertheless, the newly founded ammunition factories in the Sudetengau suffered from labor shortages.

Emo Leichtmetallbau, Ernst Modl & Co. KG

On 29-01-1941 Ernst Modl becomes the only company representative for F.X.Hüller & Co. The 1941 edition of Compass, Kommerzielles Jahrbuch Sudetenland lists F.X. Hüller & Co, Graslitz and as of 1942 Ernst Modl appears in the Jahrbuch with a separate entry. The 1944 version still lists both F.X. Hüller & Co, Graslitz and Ernst Modl & Co Komm.-Ges. (Kommanditgesellschaft, Ltd ) Grunberg. The archive of the Bank der deutschen Luftfahrt AG 1933-1945 lists Emo Leichtmetallbau, Ernst Modl & Co. KG, Grünberg/Sudetenland (until Nov. 1941: F. X. Hüller & Co., Werk II). There's also an audit report ( Prüfungsbericht) from 1939, a Balance sheet, income statement (Bilanz, Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung) from 1940, a location map from Grunberg/Zelena Hora and a company history from 1942. My hypothesis is that as of 1941 Ernst Modl used Emo Leichtmetallbau, Ernst Modl & Co. KG as a separate company for the war efforts.

The archive of the Deutsche Revisions- und Treuhand AG, 1925-1945 (in the Bundesarchiv) contains the (audits of the) financial statements as of 31 Dec. 1941 and 1942 of Emo Leichtmetallbau, Ernst Modl & Co. KG, Grünberg bei Graslitz. The archive of Bank der deutschen Luftfahrt also contains a contract between the German Reich and the Modl company from 1942/1943 and an additional contract from 1945 (Vertrag zwischen dem Deutschen Reich und der Firma, 1942/43, und Zusatzvertrag, 1945). There is also a document about the employment of 142 Russian workers in 1942 and arrests in 1943. (Bundesarchiv: Verstöße gegen die Betriebsordnung.- Verhaftungen bei der Firma EMO-Leichtmetallbau, Grünberg begin 1943. ) There's an extract of the commercial register from Oktober 21st 1944 and a Dr. Rieffert is mentioned as the sole manager and operator in 1944.

On a separate page the operation of Emo Leichtmetallbau, Ernst Modl & Co in the context of the war economy is further explored.

Forced labor

The work at the Emo factory was done by laborers from different sources, not only Russians. EMO owned a work camp were  workers of various nationalities - the Czechs (19%), the Russians (61%), the French (12%), the Belgians (5%), the Dutch (3%) who were totally employed at EMO were interned. During the camp's existence - from February 1942 to April 1945 - there lived 450 people, including 4 women, wives of total workers, and 2 children born in the camp. (Tábory utrpení a smrti, Růžena Bubeníčková et al) , Jules van Egdom, from Belgium was such a forced laborer at EMO from 09.08.1944 tot 10.04.1945. According to Van Egdom the camp for Modl was in Schwaderbach (now Bublava), some 4 kilometers north. He knew that there were made musical instruments at that location before. Previously he worked in Fischamend and Schwadorf near Vienna (WNF Wiener Neustäter Flugzeugwerke), later in Kratzau (Spreewerk) until the liberation by the Russians.

Jules van Egdom, and his Ausweis and Gestellungsbefehl, declaring that he was working at EMO Leichtmetallbau.

The Emo/Hüller factory was at Grunberg (Zelená Hora), the workers camp at Schwaderbach (Bublava)
Theo Geijssen

Another forced laborer was Dutchman Theo Geijssen from Utrecht (1923-2013). He was in Graslitz before Van Egdom and his description makes me believe that he was at the EMO factory as well. "I was in Czechoslovakia too, it must have been in 1943. A group was selected and they went to Regensburg to work in the Messerschmidt factories, which were a little further away. But when we arrived in Regensburg, those factories were bombed and so we couldn't go to work there. So we split up again and went to Graslitz, a place in the mountains, where there was a village with a machine factory, and then we had to go to work there. We slept again in a Lager. We were there for about half a year, no longer. In Czechoslovakia we had no freedom at all, we didn't see much there either. You had to go all the way up the mountain, there you were sleeping. And then down, you were exhausted in the evening. I stood there all day behind a lathe, I had the day shift, you also had night shifts, which stood behind the same machine as where I was. Then I got comments that those from the night shift made 20 pieces of something and I only 10. So I had to work harder and when I said that I could not work harder, that machine had to be set faster. So I let that machine run faster and then it crashed, haha! It was not on purpose, of course not. If you didn't do what they said they threatened you to go to a concentration camp that was nearby, Theresiënstadt, a very tough camp. Of course you didn't feel like it at all."

After WWII

Kraslice was liberated on May 7, 1945 by the US Army. Only 18 Czechs lived in the town at the beginning of May 1945, but new Czech settlers soon appeared and this number doubled within a few days. The first settlers were Czechs returning from Germany from total deployment and concentration camps, the first Czechs inland came to Kraslice on May 18th. Kraslice became one of the "happier" cities that did not have to experience the most drastic postwar excesses on the part of the Czech population, due to it's geografical location in the American zone. US troops left the city in November 1945.(Archive Kraslice)

Displacement of German population

The twelfth article of the Potsdam Agreement, signed on August 2, 1945, prescribed an "orderly and humane" transfer of the German population from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In the case of Kraslice, the Germans were selected on the basis of three categories. The leaders of the German organizations were to be postponed, only those who were in the process or the expectations of the court or questioning could remain. Similarly, former state and public employees were to leave, this time without exception. Only the third category - manual workers and entrepreneurs - was hit harder by the Czech labor force. While traders, farmers and workers were to be displaced "if not needed", miners and specialists had to stay. It was the latter who, among other things, had the task of passing on their knowledge and experience to the new arrivals of the colonists, taking over the "detached" region. The practical side of displacement was the responsibility of the District Administrative Commissions (OSK). These committees acted as individual units, but there was a certain level of intercity cooperation within the regions on the German population. Between the OSK and the US military administration during the first post-war months, there was a noticeable friction, especially because of the aforementioned unwillingness of Americans to agree to an indiscriminate Czech approach to the inhabitants of German origin. Due to the temporary closure of border crossings in the summer of 1945, refugees from the eastern part of the country began to accumulate in border towns, trying to get out of the Soviet zone and into Germany. So the OSK was supposed to secure their accommodation and take care of it until the next border opening, which led to a deeper sense of grievance and disgust on the part of local Czechs. Around forty thousand transferred Germans have accumulated in small Kraslice, and their improvised accommodation had to be arranged in the workers' quarters of Steubing & Co. In addition to the Steubing factory, an EMO accommodation facility was established, which was formerly part of the EMO factory and accommodated 700 people. In both centers the Germans stayed only days or a maximum of one or two weeks before they were sent by train to the west.

The German households received a so-called "Einberufungsschein" (call-up certificate). With the following content (for Graslitz): "You have at least 24 hours after receipt of the notice of appeal with your family in the Collection point ......................... (EMO or STEUBING). Each person is allowed to carry a baggage weighing no more than 50 kg (blanket, pillows, necessary clothing, underwear, shoes and everyday necessities), including food. Upon leaving the collection center, the person summoned must lock the apartment, cover the keyhole with the upper section of the notice of appointment with the head OSK, whereupon the name and address must be written down. All neatly bound apartment keys provided with name and exact address, are handed over at the MSK - housing offices (persons from Kraslice directly in the collection point) together with list of the things left behind in the flat.

Ernst Modl was on the September 5th 1946 train to Nürnberg in West Germany. Aged 54, labelled as 'mechanist' (and not as an instrument maker), with his wife Philippine (51) as household. Train number 14, wagon number 22. Franz Riedl (19) the son of Anton and Susanne, had already left with the train 18-03-1946, with train nr 2, wagon nr. 16. At that time Ernst Modl and his wife and Franz Riedl still lived at the house nr 1066, the villa next to the factory were Franz Xaver Hüller had lived before. The fact that Franz Riedl lived with the Modls could imply that his mother Susanne had deceased by that time. Modl's daughter went to München and stayed there.

In 22 transports between February 28th and October 22nd 1946, 22461 people were displaced from the Kraslice district, from Kraslice alone it was 11,306 people. At the end of 1946, 11531 inhabitants were in Kraslice, of which 7108 were Czechs. During 1947, three more German transports were dispatched. At the end of 1947 the town of Kraslice had 6463 inhabitants, of which 4300 were Czechs and 2042 Germans. The very narrow focus of the Kraslice economy was the reason for allowing more Germans to stay than in other cities and regions. While in the areas of agriculture or heavy industry there was no need to teach new immigrants with the help of German experts, traditional ornamental textiles and the production of musical instruments - with which the Communist regime wanted to continue - were fields whose specialization had to be passed on from the original population to the new ones. Until the 1950s, the German-speaking German population made up forty per cent of the total population (partly due to abstaining experts, partly due to mixed families allowed to remain in Czechoslovakia).


In 1945 there were 31 larger plants in Kraslice, employing more than one hundred employees, another 88 employing more than ten employees, and many of them still domestic workers. In the vast majority of establishments the producers of musical instruments or their components were working, another significant part consisted of manufacturers of embroidery and lace. All commercial and craft trades and agricultural holdings of German owners were confiscated. Companies with a staff of 21-300 were within the scope of OSK, with more than 300 employees, they were subject to the National Country Committee. Many trades under the national administration gradually disappeared and were disposed of, some merging and creating cooperatives, others gradually merging into national enterprises between 1949 and 1952. As a result of this development, in 1953 there were only four large national enterprises in the field of musical instruments and textile production. They were Amati, Lace, Leko and Ohara. The Amati National Company was formed by the incorporation of 10 inland races to the original Amati cooperative with a founding meeting on 17-10-1945, in the canteen of Hüller, as a source says. It which combined a total of 322 confiscators producing musical instruments on the territory of the Kraslice district. F.X. Hüller & Co was one of them, others were Josef Glassl, Bohland & Fuchs, Julius Keilwerth, A.K. Hüttl, Franz Michl and Kohlerts Söhne. In 1948, the cooperative was nationalized, working back till 1-1-1947. The individual plants were gradually closed down and the production concentrated on Hans Rölz, Köstler and originally the Hupfer textile factories.

The Czech Law Survey provides a notification about the Decree on the Nationalization of EMO-Leichtmetallbau Ernst Modl and Co., KG in Zelená Hora u Kraslic on December 27, 1945. The nationalisation of EMO-Leichtmetallbau came immediately into effect. In an official magazine (Úradný vestník) from 1948 we find a regulation from the Ministry of Industry: "on the nationalization of mines and certain industrial enterprises, incorporate, in agreement with the Minister of Finance, the assets of EMO-Leichtmetallbau Ernst Modl & Co., KG, based in Zelená Hora near Kraslice, within the scope of its nationalization to Perun, laundry and cleaning plant, national enterprise."

Incorporation of the EMO assets in Perun

In 1952 the legislation on compensation for war damage (Lastenausgleichsgesetz) was adopted. In the archive of the Heimatauskunfststelle Regierungsbezirk Eger, Emo Leichtmetallbau is mentioned in 1953.

The old buildings of F.X.Hüller in Graslitz are today used by a concrete company, Českomoravský. In the early 2000's there were parts of John Deere tractors en machinery made. In 2011 there's a picture of the inside where it was used as a production hall of an engineering company. The buildings of Emo Leichtmetallbau in Zelena Hora/Grunberg were in the post-war history the long-term seat of plant 07 of the company AUTOBRZDY n. P. Jablonec n. N., where the production of air brake cylinders was located (the building was purchased in 1965). Today, the company Kukal & Uhlíř, s. R. O. uses it.

Neustadt an der Aisch

From Nürnberg, where the train brought him, Ernst Modl first went to the Flüchtling Lager, the refugee camp in Fierst, a small village near Ebern, where he stayed from September 8th till September 29th. Then he went 44 km northwest to Neustadt a/d Aisch, where he first was registered at the adress Bambergerstrasse 30. On Oktober 2nd he fills in a registration form. This form was an obligation following the denazification law of the American military government. The denazification was aimed at separating the nazi war criminals from the fellow travellers and the others. Modl states that he had been a paying (RM 2,50 per month) member of the NSDAP from 1939 till 1945. The registration is followed by a procedure at an Arbitration Chamber (Spruchkammer). The public prosecutor wants to list him as a fellow travellor, Modl first complains and claims to have been politically persecuted, because of his arrest and imprisonment by the Gestapo. He presents documents about his release form prison, testimonies of a former archbishop who was with him in prison, of 7 Czech and one Russian workers who state that he behaved well against all the foreigners in his factory, and that nothing wrong could be told about him. He also provides a document that makes clear that he wasn't allowed to have any influence in the company after his release from prison. There's also a document from the Graslitz antifascist comité, stating that he's right about his role in the NSDAP, that he had behaved well against prisoners of war, politically dissenters and other workers in his company. He was no dangerous nazi but he was a beneficiary, who was convicted to 6 months prison because of tax avoiding. After a meeting with the president of the Arbitration Chamber Modl acknowledged that he had not actively resisted the nazi's and he was placed in group 4, the followers, and fined with RM50.

Later on he moved to Nürnberger Strasse 27.

Nürnberger Strasse 27, Neustadt a/d/Aisch

There is a story Mario Rippert told me, that after his expulsion Modl should have become the manager in London for Selmer London. He had good contacts to Premier Drum and Selmer London before the war as he made components for the drum manufacturing. He was there for a week and looked at it, but then went back to Neustadt a/d Aisch, said 'they only have tea-time'. He was just used to work.

On December 3rd 1949, he applies for a Gebrauchsmuster (a kind of 'patent light') for a mute with a sliding cup shaped part (a 'Husch-Husch'mute) for trumpets and trombones. His 'invention' is a rubber ring keeping the two parts tied instead of screws, making the sliding faster and easier. It's granted May 22nd 1950. In the application form he calls himself Musikinstrumentenmacher. At the same time he claims a patent for the impregnation of cardboard made mutes with 'IGECOLL F', a product of BASF, the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik. Full text at Ernst Modl's patents

Modl started production in Neustadt a/d Aisch under the name F.X.Hüller & Co, Blechblasinstrumente, founded 01-01-1950 (or 05-09-1950?). He didn't make saxophones anymore. He started without money with repairs in an old pigsty, started with the production of mutes, then the production of rotary valves is added. The company’s first new instruments were built in the early 1950’s. Anton Riedl’s son, Franz Riedl (3-3-1927 / 1-9-2008) joined Modl in the resurrected business. Like his father, Riedl’s primary contribution was made in administration and sales, next to his job as musician.

On May 5th 1950 he applies for another mute patent, this time for a wow-wow mute, the invention being that the mute was made of presspan (cardboard) instead of aluminium and the two parts stuck together. The application form has no drawings attached but I guess the idea is a bit like the right mute below, that's still for sale. Full text again at Ernst Modl's patents

Modl applied for another patent regarding rotary valve instruments (on 16-10-1950). This one should make the assembly of rotary spring valves much easier and serial production possible. It was granted 13-9-1951. (pdf to be added).

In 1951 Modl produced signal instruments with already 12 employees at the Nürnbergerstrasse 27. In 1952, a second workshop is purchased, at Zeppelinstrasse 9, the number of employees grew to 30. The production of rotary valves was added and in 1953 all brass instruments were made with 30 specialists (mostly people from Graslitz).

The Staatsarchiv Nurnberg has a document from the Regierung Mittelfranken about a Staatsverbürgter Flüchtlingsproduktivkredit für die Firma F. X. Hüller u. Co., Inh. Ernst Modl, Blechblasinstrumente in Neustadt a.d. Aisch (1950-1961). That implies that he got financial help from the government, a state guaranteed credit, like other fugitives. At another place is mentioned that he got financial help through the Marshall Plan.

Diespeck an der Aisch

The Emo factory in Diespeck, built in 1954, extended in 1956. In 2017 it was removed to build a home for the elderly

In 1954 Modl started the construction of a new company building at Sudetenstrasse 7 in Diespeck near Neustadt a/d Aisch, some 6 km away from the original location. This was registered 10-10-1954. The architect was the husband of his daughter Adrienne Valter. In 1956 followed by an extension/enlargement of the workshop, in the end with 60 employees. In 1962 there came a residential building above the factory. In 1963 Modl lives at Zeppelinstrasse 9, Neustadt a/d Aisch, now the adress of Schmidt Verlagsdruckerei.

In the meantime Modl applied for a few other patents. In 1956 he patented a tuning device for piston trumpets (DE000001726634U). In 1957 a patent for pushing the springs in a rotary valve was patented (DE000001744665U) and a device for making the core of rotary valves (DE000001029215A). In 1959 he patented a new rotary valve design (DE000001111487A) where the valve casings were made of two parts pressed together. In 1960 there was a patent for a rotary valve for brass instruments (DE000001813388U) and another in 1963 (DE000001880190U)and a piston valve for brass instruments (DE000001880191). In 1963 he also patented a ball joint for rotary valves.

Willy Hopf & Co catalog page, late fifties.

In the late fifies Emo World and Emo Champion trumpets and trombones pop up in a catalog of Willy Hopf & Co from Taunusstein, near Frankfurt. On the same page the Selmer Invicta.

In the 'Export Directory of the Blue Book of Europe Ltd of 1972 F.X.Hüller & Co, Inhaber Ernst Modl in Diespeck bei Neustadt a/d Aisch still is listed as delivering trumpets, cornets, trombones, tenor horns and signal horns.

ad 1972
Ernst Modl at 80

On the Drumcorpsplanet forum member Hornsup describes the factory he visited in 1972: "The factory was essentially an assembly plant, with most components from other suppliers. The bells were spun in a bell-only factory in Gerhardsried, right across town from Meinl-Weston (this must be Geretsried, some three hours drive,ed.). Valve clusters and miscellaneous hardware were also sourced out, although the rotary valves were fabricated onsite."

Ernst Modl
Adrienne Valter in 2012

After Ernst Modl dies on September 9th 1972, his daughter Adrienne Valter (12.10.1920 † 23.05.2017) closes the factory in 1973 (50-60 craftsman by then).

Ernst Modl pictured in the bell of a trumpet at the age of 79, picture: Harald J. Munzinger

The workmaster from Modl, Andreas Schmidt would have gladly taken over after his death. But it was too much financially and then he started his own workshop under the name Schmidtco at Schleifmühlstrasse 57, Diespeck and took over several lathes from Emo. Schmidt also maintained the signal horn business for the Belgian military.

The factory buildings then housed a forwarding company for a long time, then it was empty and terrain and buildings became wild. Since 2018 there is a retirement and nursing home, the Martin Luther House of Diakonia, and a building with service apartments on the premises.

From 1973 Franz Riedl and his wife Ingeborg take over the part of the Emo mutes (Dämpfer)under the company name Ingeborg Riedl in their house in the Waldstrasse 8 in Diespeck. Where the mutes previously were made of pressboard, today they are molded from plastic. The Emo mutes were initially molded by the company Heinrich Schneider in Neustadt, after their dissolution by the company HBW, now Gubesch Group, in Emskirchen. The trombone mutes no. 2 and 4 are still made from pressboard today. The aluminum dampers come since at least the mid-1970s from a metal pressing in Wendelstein. Petra Hieronymus, daughter of Franz and Ingeborg Riedl and her husband George then

gradually took over the forwarding of the mutes from her parents and relocated to their house in the Schleifmühlstrasse 45 in Diespeck. To them the mutes are a sideline.

Emo mutes in todays GEWA catalog

The Emo mutes are sold almost exclusively to the wholesalers GEWA, Stölzel and Thomann, whereby Fa. Stölzel receives all mutes without EMO label and adds their own label to them. GEWA gets the aluminum mutes without an EMO label.

Ernst Modl brass instruments

Ernst Modl started in 1951 with the production of signal horns. The production of rotary valves was added and he picked up the production of bugles, trumpets (piston valves and a few with (top action) rotary valves). Also a few cornets, several slide trombones, a valve trombone and a mellophone are known and then euphoniums are mentioned (but I haven't seen any pictures of them). Throughout his career in Germany Modl used the model names that we know from his time at F.X. Hüller & Co: Professional, Champion and World, with the extensions Super, De Luxe, De Luxe Color and an incidental Standard, Ideal.... As far as I can see now, the signal horns, trombones and rotary valve instruments have no serial numbers. The others have, the Emo branded as well as the stencils he made for companies like Ludwig, Smith Music Sales, Buffet Crampon and Rudy Mück. In the serial number list at the bottom of this page I have listed them. The serial numbers I found so far (some 180, including the stencils) reach from 2 till 8125, with one outlier at 12750.

Signal horns

Signalhorns come in different sizes, used by cyclists, fire brigade, train people, hunting and as a foghorn. Other than trumpets they have a harmonica like reed that makes the sound.

Emo small signal horn, 10,15 cm long and sounds like a harmonica, source Ebay.com 2017

And another one, slightly different, 11 cm long

Emo signal horn, 28,5 cm long and sounds like a harmonica, source Ebay.de 2019

Emo signal horn, 45 cm long, used at the Reichsbahn, source Ebay.de 2019


There are a few Emo bugles, all with one valve, presumably from Bb to Eb. As they all seem to have hexagonal valve caps, I guess they are from the early years.

Emo signal horn, dating before 1965

Emo bugle converted to a lamp....

Emo bugle, source Horn-u-copia.net

Emo trumpets

The typical Emo trumpet can be recognized by it's spherical waterkeys, the baluster style bracing and the sloping valve caps and "Selmer' style arched valve stem buttons. The Word models have these 'Olds' style valve casings and bottoms.

But on a closer look there is more variation, partly because for the early instruments standard parts were used.

Emo Professional

The first few Professional trumpets have the octagonal valve caps and bottoms that are also found on Keilwerth and Wohlrab trumpets. After that they have round caps and bottoms. Then the typical baluster braces also pop up. The waterkey is a traditional one, and stays the same over the years. After finding it's form in the early years the Professional model hasn't changed.

Emo Professional, octagonal valve caps, traditional braces, valve numbers 1,2,3

Emo Professional, octagonal valve caps, serial number 4(?), valve numbers 1,2,3, traditional braces

Emo Professional serial number 2, round valve caps

Emo Professional Bb and C, serial number not known, spin with typical baluster

Emo Professional Bb and C, serial number 46

Emo Professional, serial number 4933, baluster and traditional brace

Emo Professional serial number 8103

Emo Champion

The Emo Champion trumpets all have normal waterkeys, no 'Emo' keys. Between 454 and 747 they get underslung waterkeys, then again normal waterkeys. Somewhere between 2506 and 2676 the valve buttons change from 'Emo' style to 'normal'. The bracings vary but the brace in the main tuning slide mostly is 'Emo'. Most of them have a forwarded position of the valve block ('balanced').

Emo Champion, serial number 18

Emo Champion, serial number 32, different engraving on bell

Emo Champion, serial number 509, underslung waterkey, braces in different styles, hexagonal valve buttons

Emo Champion, serial number 2676, different engraving on bell, underslung waterkey

Emo Champion, serial number 5681, underslung waterkey

Emo Champion Super

The Emo Champion Super all have the typical 'Emo' waterkeys and valve buttons. There's a little variation in the finger hoooks.

Emo Champion Super, serial number 632, different finger hook, 'Emo' waterkeys and valve buttons

Emo Champion Super, serial number 8125, 'Emo' waterkeys and valve buttons

Emo World

The Emo World trumpets have a pretty constant shape, with all the known Emo features, including the 'Olds' style valve casings. Most of them have a forwarded position of the valve block ('balanced').

Emo World, serial number 563, balanced

Emo World, serial number 1933

Emo World, serial number 7688

Emo World, serial number 12750, Bauerfeind valve block. The only Emo with a 5-digit serial number.

Emo World de Luxe

Emo World de Luxe have all the typical Emo features. From a certain point they also have a patented third valve slide hook. This patent from Modl dates from July 18th 1956.

Emo World de Luxe, serial number 1433

Emo World de Luxe, serial number 3865, and the third valve slide hook

There's also a multicolored World de Luxe, the World de Luxe Color. So far only in low serial numbers (81-576).

Emo World de Luxe color, serial number 81

Emo Standard

An Emo Standard with serial number 492, with F.X.Hüller & Co engraved on the bell was sold in an auction in Stockholm in 2019. This Emo Standard is very much identical to the Emo Professional model. A similar one, with serial number 155, was obtained around 1970 by Magnus Anderson who was living in Stockholm as well. And a third Emo Standard with number 319 was sold in December 2020 from Karlshamm through a Swedish auction site. That would make you guess that Modl used this model name for the Swedish market. After the war Modl used the F.X. Hüller name for his company but he didn't use it on his trumpets, except for these ones. It's also found on the trumpet Louis Armstrong got with serial number 2503 but that one got a special inscription with Armstrongs name on it as well.

Emo Standard, F.X.Hüller & Co, serial number 492

Other Emo brass instruments


So far I've found several Emo trombones, they all are called the Champion model. The slide trombones seem to have no serial number, apart from one with an 18 on the mouthpiece reciever.

Emo Champion trombone. No serial number.

Emo Champion valve trombone. Serial number 172

Alto trombone in Eb

Emo Champion alto trombone.


There are some Emo cornets around but not many. Here's a World:

Emo World cornet

Emo cornet

And here's a Champion cornet:


A rotary valve flugelhorn, no model name known.

Emo flugelhorn in Bb, source Yorkmaster

There is one piston valve flugelhorn model Champion known. A low serial number so maybe Modl stopped pretty soon producing them.

Emo Champion flugelhorn, serial number 179

And another one, no model name known but also with baluster type braces.

Emo flugelhorn, source Horn-u-copia.net

Bass trumpet

An Emo Champion bass trumpet popped up in a music store in Carmichael, California and was sold to Chicago. According to the seller it is a .480 bore, small shank trombone receiver, and the rotor drops it like a F attachment/4th piston would. The ring finger trigger operates a main tuning slide. Water keys have been replaced. It has a low serial number, 59 so it's another type of instrument that Modl tried and then gave up.

Emo Champion bass trumpet, serial number 59, source reeverb.com


A mellophone in Eb.

Emo mellophone in Eb, source Yorkmaster

Rotary valve trumpet

Although there are several rotary-valve-related inventions under Ernst Modls patents, I only found two examples of an Emo rotary valve trumpet so far. Both seem to have his ball-and-socket invention on board.

Emo rotary valve trumpet, no serial number, source: Catawiki

Emo rotary valve trumpet, no serial number, with plastic valve caps, source Ebay.de

Top action rotary valve trumpet

Modl also made a few top action rotary valve trumpets in various pitches, Eb, Bb and C.

More about these at the Top action rotary valve trumpets page of Brasspedia.


Modl also sold mouthpieces with his imprint. They have a caracteristic form, that's also found with the Hablowetz mouthpieces of mouthpiece maker Bruno Tilz, also from Neustadt a/d Aisch. Tilz started his workshop in 1971, after he worked for twenty years for Josef Hablowetz. So I guess it's not a wild guess to think that Tilz was making the Emo ones as well.


Like F.X.Hüller & Co, Bohland & Fuchs and other musical instrument makers in Graslitz, Czechslovakia and like Julius Keilwerth, Wohlrab and other brass instrument makers in post WWII West-Germany Ernst Modl was active in the production of stencils, instruments bearing another name than his own Emo brand. There is a lot of fuss about the relation between Ernst Modl and brands like Buffet-Crampon, Rudy Mück, Monke, DEG and others. As far as I know Modl made bugles and trumpets for others. But those others sourced their instruments from other suppliers as well, maybe not at the same time. That and the fact that Modl and other makers used parts from different suppliers makes it very difficult to draw lines. What adds to the confusion is that Modl copied a lot of 'Selmer' into his trumpet design. Comparing design and details is one way to connect instruments to a maker. The other line is by looking at the serial numbers. The serial numbers of Emo instruments form a consistent line from 2 till 8000. The presumed stencils have serials that fit in that range nicely. These brands also have serials in totally different ranges, as well as serials that would fit but are from instruments of a different (pre-war) period. So far I collected some 160 serial numbers from Emo and 'related' stencil instruments. I don't have pictures of all of them. And the ones I have pictures of, not always are identical to an Emo instrument. My hypothesis for now is that when it looks like an Emo and it fits in the serial number list, it is made by Modl.

Stencil bugles

Bugles were not new to Modl, after all these were among the last instruments produced before the wartime closure. The first bugles he made were made as stencils for the Ludwig Drum Co in Chicago, USA. These bugles were used in the American Drum and Bugle corpses. These had strict rules as to which tuning and valves are legit. Bugles are traditionally tuned in G, presumably because that pitch was the loudest to use in the military. The first valved bugles added a D, for which William Ludwig is credited. In 1953 a second (piston operated) rotary valve was legitimated. In 1968, Drum Corpses went from approving the G-D bugle to approving the G-F bugle. Here's a link to the history of Drum & Bugle Corps. And here's a link to the evolution of the bugle in the US.

Ludwig double valve bariton bugle

Here's a Ludwig double valve bariton bugle. The owner said about this horn on Drumcorpsplanetforum: "This horn was marketed by Ludwig about 1961, and was manufactured by F.X. Hüller in Neustadt-on-Aisch, West Germany. Besides this baritone, there were bass-baritone, french horn, and soprano models. Some received a 'Peate' stencil and were sold in the Quebec area. Hüller later became infamous for producing the Smith Music Sales bugles. The piston-operated rotary valve was novel, but flawed in its design and prone to jam. Note the stop rod assembly on the rotor slide. In theory, it could be configured either in F# or F. But this is physically impossible, so the half-step tuning was too flat and the whole-step tuning was too sharp. The location of the rotary in these models, immediately after a short leadpipe, was an acoustical abberation. This series of horns was probably the worst instruments that the bugle activity has seen. Although there have been a few other serious challengers for that honor." It looks like Ernst Modl has tried to improve the bugle as well....

Ludwig double valve baritone bugle, serial number 1xx, patent pending, Germany

This is a Ludwig baritone bugle in G. The seller, btrains25 on Ebay: "This instrument was built in the 1960s for Ludwig by Emo. It has two pistons, both thumb actuated, one of which is connected to a rotor on the leadpipe. The real piston drops the horn to the key of D, while the piston actuated rotor is attached to a slide with an extra long tuning slide and stopper which approximates either the key of F (pulled out), or F# (pushed in). This was one of the first designs of bugles which integrated the newly (1953) legalized rotary valve. Rotors in the leadpipe were phased out for rotors in the tuning slide. This particular voice was known in catalogs at the time as a 'Baro-tone'.

Ludwig single valve baritone in G, made in Germany

Here's a Ludwig single valve bugle in G made in Germany. It has serial number 652 and was used by the USMC, United States Marine Corps. In the serial number list below I only incorporated the Ludwig bugles that have a serial number that fits into the Modl list. Which doesn't proe they were all made by Modl. There are a lot of Ludwig bugles with 5-digit serials that for sure are not Modl made.

Waterloo Music Company

Waterloo Champion G-D soprano bugle, serial number 666, bought in Canada, coll.: Brian Hamel

Here's a G-D soprano Bugle with a rotor that lowers the pitch by a half step built by Modl and stencilled Waterloo Music Company. The Waterloo Music Company was a Canadian music publishing and musical instrument retailing firm that was founded in 1921 by Charles F. Thiele (1884-1954) in Waterloo, Ontario. On the Trumpetherald forum James Becker comments on this one: "It appears there to me there are two slides, one on the piston loop and the rotor assembly is a removable tuning slide. The combination of G, F#, D was transitional. The addition of a single piston to the G bugle came first and was a D. However with the introduction of the 1/2 step F# rotor the piston loop was reduced to a whole step F. This combination allows for the greatest number of scales leaving out the 1-3 or 2-3 trumpet fingering equivalents. Written Ab above the staff can be played with the piston sounding flat which is why later two piston designs have a spring loaded 1st slide to raise this note."

The valve caps and button are Emo, the valve is similar to the one in the Emo tarv trumpet, and based on a Modl patent.

Waterloo Champion from Calgary.jpg

Left: another Waterloo Champion, sold from Calgary, Canada.

Waterloo Champion G-D soprano bugle, source: Horn-u-copia.net forum

To the right is another G-D soprano bugle built ca. 1961 by Modl. The rotary valve is a too-long half step that can be pulled to a too-short whole step.

Smith Music Sales

Smith Music Sales double valved baritone bugle, serial number 227

This double valved baritone bugle belonged to a Boy Scout troop leader back in the 1960's

Smith Music Sales single valve bugle, serial number 510

Smith Music Sales in Chicago was set up by Glen C. Smith. At the Drumcorpsplanet-forum members 'Scooter Pirtle' and 'HornsUp' described the history of the Smith company and the relation with Modl which I quote in it's entirety: "Glenn C. Smith initially worked with the Austin Grenadiers of Chicago during the 50s and gained notoriety as their DM. Then for a while he somehow became the bandmaster at a Catholic boys HS. He started a business to contract bugle fabrication through other firms (initially through T.J. Getzen) that resulted in the 'Smith Music Sales' badging that can be encountered on a wide array of valve/rotor bugles. He was in the bugle sales business at least by 1959 when he brought his mobile shop to the AL Nationals. He took this operation to Miami for '61 VFW with two employees: Bob Spevacek former director and music man for the Madison Scouts, and national champion snaredrummer Tony DeMarco. Smith had a storefront on W. Fullerton Avenue for several years, then moved to one in Mount Prospect.

Smith Music Sales eventually became a large dealer that boasted of international accounts and sales to 3,000 drum and bugle corps. A letter from Smith indicates his company eventually purchased the Holton/Ludwig bugle line and Bill Ludwig declared Smith Music Sales as the 'largest parade drum dealer in Ludwig history'. He was the major source of Getzen bugles, while Tru Crawford set up shop across town and pushed the Holton-built Ludwig Classic line. At the same time (during the 50s), Smith began putting his shield on bugles manufactured in Neustadt-on-Aisch, West Germany (and possibly other Euro-based fabricators). The factory was owned by Ernst Modl, who had one of the many brass instrument factories in prewar Germany (not correct: Graslitz was in Czechslovakia, ed.). It had been re-established after WWII through the Marshall Plan.

Modl had previously built stencil bugles for Ludwig - the notorious "double-piston" models, around 1961. They had a crude drawbench, and could bend up all the components and then hold them together with baling wire while they soldered in a few random braces. The none-too-great chromeplating was done in Nürnburg, but to keep things American the cases were manufactured in good old Elkhorn Wisconsin. Smith also sold some front-carried euphoniums as early as 1964, that they were made Emo. I was supposed to go to the factory in 1969 to do some quality control and product development of a flugel model, but Uncle Sam had other ideas. While all this was going on, Holton and Ludwig both decided to get out of the bugle business. With a personal loan from Bill Ludwig Jr., Smith bought the remaining inventory of about 1000 Classic Sopranos.

Below is a picture of the baritone and french horn buglers from the Racine (Wisconsin) YMCA Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps in 1967. They were the first to use the new G - F bugles from Smith Music Sales. This picture was used in Smiths advertisements during the fall of 1967 annd much of 1968. It has to be confirmed that these were Emo made.

Racine Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps 1967, source: George Fennel, We winna be dauntit.

The legalization of the G-F bugle (in 1968 ed.) had lured Olds into the business. With a superior product, they soon dominated the market. So Glenn Smith sold his business, a pig in a poke, to former employee Tony DeMarco. Tony sent me to the Emo factory for six weeks in the spring of 1972, to do quality control and product development. But I realized the first time I walked through that facility that my assignment was hopeless. The facilities, the knowledge, and the craftsmanship just weren't there. Nobody in the factory had ANY idea of how these instruments were being deployed. I developed a set of prototypes, which were finished and shown at Drum Corps Associates championship that year. But it was too late, Herr Modl passed away a month later and the factory closed. Tony DeMarco had other successful business interests and didn't continue as Smithco. Glenn Smith did enter the Catholic priesthood."

Tubenet-forum member 'aqualung' recalls that in the mid-sixties Smith Music Sales came with a contrabass bugle, made by Emo. "They were made with 4/4 BBb tuba bodies, but still at baritone bore." The contrabass bugle was legalized for the 1962 season.

According to 'Scooter Pirtle" Smith has suggested that he was responsible for the creation of the French horn bugle, a small bore soprano he called the “Angel horn,” the flugelhorn, the bass baritone, a double sized contrabass, and the mellophone. He contended he did this design work with the help of Bob Spevacek, John Gates, Bill Scarlett, and even Arnold Jacobs.

Smith Music Sales Company 2 valve French horn G bugle, serial unknowm, Emo bracing

Here's another Smith Music Sales bugle with one valve in the form of a French horn. It has serial number 754 and all the Emo details like braces, valve cap and button, and the rotary valve. It was owned by the Loveland Cavaliers from Loveland Ohio.

Smith Music Sales Company 1 valve French horn bugle, serial 754, source: Reverb.com 2021

Stencil trumpets

There are trumpets of different brands that are attributed to Modl. Buffet-Crampon and Rudy Muck (the 4M and 7M series) are looking very similar to the EMO World, DEG Ranger II, Wilhelm Monke and even a Schenkelaars are also linked to Modl, although it's also suggested that Monke was the one who made the Buffets and Mucks. I don't think he did.

My global hypothesis is that Buffet-Crampon and Rudy Muck trumpets from the 4M and 7M series (and also the 2M and 5M series) were produced/assembled by Modl, at least those with with three to four digit serial numbers. The five and six digit Buffets, Evette&Schaeffers and Rudy Mucks, although looking very similar to the four digit ones, were made by another (German?) maker. In addition to the exterior similarities, I find support for this hypothesis in the overview of serial numbers below. It turns out that (so far) all these presumed Modl stencils (except the above mentioned 5/6 digit instruments) fit nicely in one serial number list, as do the bugles. I hope that new entries can falsify or support this hypothesis, so if you have an instrument of one of the brands below, please provide me with a serial number and pictures at info@brasspedia.com!


Buffet-Crampon is a maker of woodwind instruments, most famous for their clarinets. The French instrument maker Denis Buffet Auger sets up his workshop in the heart of Paris, at 20 Passage du Grand Cerf in 1825, In 1836 Jean-Louis Buffet, Denis' son, marries Zoe Crampon in 1836 and creates the famous Buffet-Crampon brand name. In 1885 the company is headed by Paul Evette and Ernest Schaeffer. Buffet-Crampon and Evette&Schaeffer were both used as brands. In 1908 Buffet began exporting instruments to the US. In 1918 Buffet began marketing their premium line instruments under their own name, while marketing lower grade instruments variously under the Evette&Schaeffer and Evette brands. During the 1930s Buffet began outsourcing Evette&Schaeffer instruments to other manufacturers.

Buffet-Crampon made some brass instruments around 1895, discontinued it later and are believed not to have made brass instruments again until the acquisition of Courtois and Besson in 2006. The Buffet brass instruments were made for the American market where Carl Fischer in 1910 had acquired the importation rights for Buffet-Crampon woodwinds. In 1940 the Carl Fischer company acquired the York Band Instrument Company for $300,000. In 1957 they still owned it. Carl Fischer was Buffet agent till the late sixties. In 1950-1951 Carl Fischer also purchased a controlling share in Rudy Mück.

There is a hear say statement of Zig Kanstul, saying that Buffet-Crampon made trumpets themselves, but I haven't found any eyewitnesses. The Buffet-Crampon trumpets have serial numbers ranging from 29 till 5000 and in the 60.000 -70.000 range. The Evette trumpets have serial numbers in this last range and (some of them) have Germany or W-Germany on the reciever. The four digit numbers nicely fit in the Modl serial list. My hypothesis for now is that these are Emo build trumpets and that the 6 digit numbers came from another German producer, maybe Böhm & Meinl (looking at the valve block).

Anecdotal 'evidence' is provided by Trumpetherald member seouljourner: "I have one (Emo) with no serial number and 'normal' water keys. It has a medium bore (0.450") and a 4 3/4" bell. It is a balanced trumpet like the Selmers. I have never tried a Selmer so I cannot compare. I do however, have a Buffet Crampon balanced model and the 2 play very similarly, in fact the slides are interchangeable so I believe they are made by the same manufacturer."

Comparing an Emo World with a Buffet-Crampon.

Buffet Crampon in 1981 becomes part of the Boosey & Hawkes group. They buy the Courtois and Besson brands in 2006 and in 2012 become the Buffet group.

The Buffet-Crampon trumpets.

And the Buffet-Crampon trumpets with higher serials numbers from another maker.

Rudy Mück

Rudy Mück jr. (1909-1959) was a trumpetmaker and also famous for his cushion rim mouthpieces, introduced in 1933. There's an extensive Rudy Mück history on the Brasshistory site of Jon Patton, most of it gathered together by Fred Cirksena. The Muck family owned a large music store. Rudy Muck Sr. and Jr. were both trumpet players. They began producing trumpets and cornets some time before WWII. In 1950-1951 Carl Fischer purchased a controlling share in Rudy Mück. According to Bill Barnes on the Trumpetherald forum, the name was owned later by Mike Fiore in NYC who had his own repair shop. Mike had worked for Rudy Mück for a long time and he owned the Rudy Mück name after the last of the involved Mücks passed on. Fiore retired in the seventies. Barnes: "The name was pirated by a European company who made low priced "Rudy Muck" trumpets, perhaps some time in the 1960's. I think that included the balanced models. I have seen all sorts of weird Rudy Muck trumpets, some good and some not so good, so I think the name was used by several different foreign manufacturers." Some Rudy Mück trumpets are quoted as '(maybe) made by EMO/Ernst Modl'. This is particulary true for the 4M and 7M models that look very similar to the Emo World. I'll try to make a case also for the 2M serie that in my opinion is pretty similar to the Emo Professional and Emo Champion model. The 5M is a bit different. The earliest Emo lookalike however is a Rudy Mück Citation. The Rudy Mück M series 4 digit serial numbers fit in the Ernst Modl serial number list. And, what's important to notice, so far I didn't find any duplications with Emo trumpet numbers. Which might be an indication - at least - that they indeed come from the same source. There are other Rudy Mück trumpets that have four digit numbers; at least part of them date from before WWII. And there are 2M, 4M, 5M and 7M model instruments that have much higher numbers, in the (low) 60.000 region. The M models were (all) marketed by Dallas London, the European company Barnes accuses of 'pirating', and they have often 'Foreign' engraved which implies that they were sold in the UK but were sourced from abroad.

There is one difference between Rudy Mück and Emo, all (?) the Mück's have a third slide stop rod, no Emo has that.

The 5M has a brace in the main tuning slide, the 2M is the very basic model.

The 4M and 7M have valve caps and waterkeys like the Emo World. The difference between the 4M and the 7M are the brace in the main tuning slide and the third valve slide operating mechanism that the 4M has not. This mechanism is also found on the Emo World de Luxe.

As to the similarities between the Rudy Mück 2M and the Emo Professional, here's some evidence.

These two trumpets are identical, apart from , again, the stop rod.

The higher (60.000 up) numbers are still hard to interpret.

Wilhelm Monke

Wilhelm Monke (1913–1986), son of brass instrument maker Josef Monke, opened his own independent shop in 1945, which sold a variety of instruments until it closed in 1994. He bought ready-made components and used them to build his instruments. He also bought ready instruments and engraved them with his name. It's possible that he bought Modl's instruments, or that he bought the same parts. But I don't think that Monke made Emo instruments. The ones I found so far have different details but look like more or less like Modl instruments. The serial number 52 would fit in the Modl list, but the number looks a bit weird. And there's also a Buffet mentioned on Answers.com with the same serial (but without a picture).

Wimo, Wilhelm Monke Köln, no serial number

Here's a bass trumpet by Monke. Waterkeys and braces look like Modl, but for the rest the design is totally different from the Modl bass trumpet.

Wilhelm Monke Basss trumpet, source Ebay.de

Heribert Glassl

A trumpet with only the engraving H. Glassl Rüsselshein Königstadten (a place near Frankfurt) was advertised in 2021 by a seller as being an Emo World. I think that might be correct. Heribert Glassl is/was a small shop in that place. Heribert himself retired in 2005.

H.Glassl Rüsselsheim Königstädten


Luxor was the brand name of a German group of several music dealers who bought instruments from various manufacturers in the 1970's and 1980's and then sold them under the Luxor brand. Most of the Luxor trumpets that can be found are by Kühnl and Hoyer. This one is identical to an Emo Champion.

Luxor trumpet, serial number 440, identical to Emo Champion


D.E.G. Music Products Co was started in 1965 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin USA, by Donald E. Getzen after he split from the Getzen company in Elkhorn. Member CDFHorn on the Horn-U-Copia forum states that Modl made some of the DEG instruments, some Ranger II models and some Caravelle models. The ones he mentions have serial numbers 135 (Caravelle, flugel), 335 (Ranger II, cornet), 701 (Ranger II trumpet) and 2601 (Caravelle, trumpet). Although they have some similarities in details, the serial numbers are far too low to be Modl instruments when you realize that they have to be post 1965. According to the Getzen company history, Bob Getzen, who had left Getzen in 1959 to start Allied Music, in 1966 started to build piston bugles for the D.E.G. Music Products Company of his brother Donald. As of 1972 Allied Music begins producing a full line of trumpets, cornets, trombones and marching brass instruments for D.E.G. I guess these DEG instruments originated here, the low serial numbers would fit perfectly.


Schenkelaars was a Dutch maker of all kinds of musical instruments, based in Eindhoven. Founded in 1928 by Harry Schenkelaars (11/8/1896- 2/27/1979). They quit in 1988. There is a Schenkelaars Champion with similarities to the Emo instruments (waterkeys, baluster, valve caps. And of course the model name). It has a 3 digit serial number (425?). Champion was not a much used name by Schenkelaars (his labels were Topaz, Prestige, Concorde and later on model numbers) and there's no further evidence.

The story about Louis Armstrong playing an Emo

The Emo trumpet has a reputation that it's also been played by famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong (1901-1971). Louis Armstrong played dozens of instruments during his lifetime. Even though he believed you could play a trumpet for a long time, he had the habit of playing his trumpets for approximately five years before he passed them on as a gift to a friend or colleague. As he once said: “I give my horns about five years. Of course I look after them, run hot water through the instrument every night so you know it’s going to percolate.” For quite some time he used to play a Selmer, starting in 1932. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington has a 1946 Henri Selmer B-flat custom-made and inscribed trumpet that belonged to Armstrong. On February 22nd, 1946, Armstrong’s manager and close friend, Joe Glaser, wrote to Selmer Instrument Company and asked for a new trumpet custom-made for Armstrong’s use. He stated that Armstrong had been using a Selmer trumpet manufactured in 1932 and wanted 'an exact duplicate'. Selmer agreed and presented him with this inscribed Selmer B-flat trumpet. This personally inscribed trumpet was made only for Armstrong and was not mass produced.

Another gold plated Henri Selmer, Paris model 19 balanced action medium bore Trumpet, was made by Selmer in 1948. It's inscribed five years later with ‘DUKE DONIN/from LOUIS “SATCHMO” ARMSTRONG/7/10/53 and was a present to Duke, the eldest son of Abe and Frances Donin, two jazz aficionados whom Armstrong had met in Los Angeles in the 1930s and who became great friends. This Selmer was sold through Christie's on October 14th 2020, after Duke Donin's passing away in 2018.

A year before this gift, Louis Armstrong toured in Germany, and that's when Ernst Modl gave him one of his Emo trumpets as a present. The Fränkische Landeszeitung in 1971 looked back with Ernst Modl, by then 79 years old and still active in his company, at a time that Armstrong had played his last concert. Modl explained that he first tried to hand it over in the nearby Nürnberg, but the concert there was cancelled last minute by manager Joe Glaser and Modl had to go home. Then he asked a business friend to try to give it to Armstrong in Frankfurt, 115 miles from Neustadt a/d Aisch.

Poster for the Louis Armstrong concert in Frankfurt 1952, not yet with an Emo

That year Armstrong played twice in Frankfurt. On Oktober 11th 1952 he played there in the Frankfurter Franz Althoff-bau, a venue in the Zoo (as he did again on October 26th 1955). On November 30th 1952 he played in the Kongresshalle with his All Star Group (where he came back on 16-1959 and 6-4-1962).

The owner of the renowned Frankfurter Konzertdirektion C. Ebner, Mrs. Clara Gunderloch, the German agent of Louis Armstrong, had organized concerts of the orchestra in October 1952 in several North Rhine-Westphalian cities, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Essen and Wuppertal. (sidestep: five years later Gunderloch in last resort lost a juridical battle, about a tax reduction on the ticketprice she claimed. Discount or remission of entertainment tax is usually granted when the competent tax authority accepts the 'artistically high' or 'culturally valuable' ratings for an event. Which in this case they didn't.) In 1952 Armstrong also went to the newly opened Jazz Keller in Frankfurt, Europe's number one jazz hangout where he spilled red wine all over his tuxedo, trying to maneuver through the crowd. In Frankurt he was also interviewed for the Armed Forces Radio Services. The Emo trumpet was handed over at his farewell concert, thus the paper, so probably the last concert on November 30th.

The Fränkische Landeszeitung quotes a letter from Armstrong to Modl, seven months after he got the trumpet: "It's something in your trumpet that makes your whole soul feel good and relaxed". Armstrong describes to Modl how he just finished a six week tour with Benny Goodmans Band and his own All Stars (in April/May 1953). All the trumpet players wanted to play the Emo and all were enthousiastic, thus Armstrong. Armstrong asks Modl to send him another Emo, for emergency cases. It had to be gold plated, a wish of his manager Joe Glaser, he states. Glaser also had arranged the gold plating of Armstrongs' first Emo, which costed him $118... Armstrong asks Modl in the letter for yet another Emo, that has to be sent to Duke Donin, 4853 Mioland Drive, Los Angeles, the same Duke Donin that earlier got his Selmer, who's 12 or 14 years old by then. Duke Donin passed away in 2018, his Armstrong Selmer made it to Christie's (where it sold for some $275.000). It's unclear what happened to his Emo. The first Emo Armstrong got, was engraved with the Emo logo and the F.X.Hüller Neustadt a/d Aisch name. In his first thank you letter Armstrong did not write to Ernst Modl but to Mr. Hüller because the company was still called that name. Various letters followed, which were translated Modls daughter and also visits in Neustadt a/d Aisch. They had their birthday on the same day, so that created a bond.

The first Emo

The first Emo trumpet that was given to Armstrong has the Emo logo, and a special engraving. The part that can be read/guessed says:

The text on Armstrong's first Emo trumpet
F.X.Hüller & Co

'Nürnberg' probably refers to the place where Modl intended to give the instrument to Armstrong. The trumpet has not the Emo/Selmer like waterkeys but standard ones and an underslung third valve ring that's also found on the Selmer trumpets Armstrong played. It also has z-shaped braces instead of the later Emo baluster type. Waterkeys and braces indicate that it's an early Emo indeed.

Letter from Louis Armstrong to Ernst Modl, dated August 5th 1955

In a letter dated August 5th. 1955 Armstrong repeats that "the EMO trumpet is the finest horn that I've ever played in my whole life." He thanks Modl for two trumpets he sent him, and tells him that he still has the first trumpet and had it overhauled.

There's a picture of Armstrong with Modl and Modl's daughter Adrienne and a trumpet, that was exhibited at an exposition. Armstrong choose three out of 15 Modl trumpets in Nürnberg, states the description. Which is not in line with the story in the Frankischer Landeszeitung. Assuming that it's true that the trumpet was handed over in Frankfurt and not in Nürnberg and that it was not Modl but a business friend, the first time Modl and Armstrong could have met in person, would be the next tour to Germany in 1955. Therefore the trumpet in these pictures is not the first Emo but the later Emo World, that has different waterkeys and a different pinky hook.

The Graslitzer Heimatbrief of December 1955, a periodical for Germans that were expelled from Sudetenland, Louis Armstrong is quoted as saying: 'I only play on trumpets of my friend Ernst Modl."

Ricky Riccardi, author of 'What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years' is quoted on Trumpetenforum, stating that Armstrong played the Emo from 1952 till the end of his second Australian tour in 1956, which took place April 1956. Armstrong did his first tour to Australia in 1954.

That means that the Emo can be heard on recordings such as 'Satchmo Live in Melbourne Australia 1954 & 1956' and (partly) 'Ambassador Satch' that was (partly) recorded in Amsterdam 1955.

Friedel Keim
Friedel Keim states in 'Das Grosse Buch der Trompete' that Louis Armstrong played an EMO World de luxe - No. 2503, that costed 170 RM in 1948. Modl gave Armstrong in Frankfurt am Main one of his trumpets in 1952 and after his tour with the Benny Goodman Band and his All-Stars Armstrong had sent some more EMOs and never again changed the brand... Thus Keim. According to Mario Rippert, Keim had this information from Franz Riedl and his cousin Adrienne, the daughter of Ernst Modl.
I think Friedel Keim is not right about the price in 1948, Modl didn't produce trumpets at that time, and also not about Armstrong staying with Emo as he returned to a Selmer in 1956.
The 2503 serial number he mentions would also be remarkable. Modl started making piston trumpets after 1951, and made some 8100 instruments till 1972. So again I doubt if Keim is right, maybe it's the serial of one of the later instruments Armstrong ordered.

Armstrong playing Emo 1952 - 1954

The common idea is that Armstrong played an Emo during his tour in Australia but according to Ricky Riccardi in fact he played the Emo consequently in the years from (the end of) 1952 till 1956. A lot of pictures can be found that confirm this, although so far the first picture with a reliable date in this period is the one from his Japan tour in December 1953. Armstrong's first Emo has an unique engraving and in addition, unlike the standard Emo, a Selmer like pinky ring and an underslung ring for the third valve tube. His second Emo also has that underslung ring. Obviously these are custom adjustments because Armstrong was used to this feature on his Selmer trumpet. The Emo resembles a Selmer also in other details like waterkeys and valve buttons but there are distinct differences. There are a few pictures of Armstrong and his trumpet from this period where the Hüller or the Emo logo de facto can be read. On the other pictures, the main give away is the brace in the main tuning slide. On the Emo that brace is placed in the bow, and therefore it's more forward placed, Selmers have that brace between the tubes. The Emo also misses a stop rod. Armstrong played his first Emo/Hüller at the 1953 Japan tour, where the Nürnberg inscription can be read on his instrument. The same inscription can be seen on the trumpet he plays at a Columbia studio session in Chicago, July 13th, 1954. Later on he plays another Emo, one with the 'World' logo, that also can be distinguished on several pictures. The pictures below show Armstrong with his Emo trumpets during these years.

1955 Berlin, Newport,Copenhagen, The Hague, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona

During these tours in 1955 Armstrong already plays on his second Emo, with the Emo World logo. So somewhere between November 1954 and April 1955 he must have changed from the Hüller/Emo to the Emo World.

On November 7th 1955 he arrives in Zürich Switzerland and there at the Kloten Airport he plays a little on his Emo. Also at the concerts in Zurich and Lyon in November 1955 Armstrong plays an Emo.

1956 Second Australian Tour, Armstrong playing Emo?

The second tour to Australia is the last period that Armstrong plays his Emo, according to Ricky Riccardi. The tour brings him between April 5th and 23rd 1956 in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. In the tour programm there's an ad for the Emo from musical instrument importer J. Stanley Johnston with a quote from Armstrong: "I want to thank you for making one of the finest instruments that I have ever played on in my whole career of playing music.....I honestly want to say this, it's something in your trumpet that makes your whole soul feel good and relaxed... I'm sure it's the material... that's why I say 'Dig that easy blowing trumpet....dig it man'."

But, earlier that year, at the set of the movie High Society in January 1956 Armstrong already played a Selmer again. The next stop after the Australian tour is London where he arrives May 3rd and plays ten concerts in the Empress Hall. One of the pieces is Macky Messer on, indeed a new Selmer. When he gets out of the plane on his tour to Ghana May 24th 1956, he is also holding a Selmer. And at a concert with the New York Philharmonic on July 14th 1956, Armstrong is playing St. Louis Blues on a Selmer. So I doubt if Armstrong really played an Emo in Australia that year.

In the movies and shows

In The Glenn Miller Story, where Armstrong appears along James Stewart as Glenn Miller, he plays an Emo. The movie premiered on February 10th, 1954. Armstrong plays his first Emo trumpet.

In a CBS broadcast on September 5th 1954 "THE EMERGENCE OF JAZZ", a recreation of the closing of Storyville, Armstrong plays the role of King Oliver, on his Emo. In the Colgate Comedy Hour's fall tv debut of September 19th, 1954 in the Hollywood Bowl, Armstrong shows up at 28'15" with his Emo. Backstage he's pictured with Peggy Lee.

In High Society, released July 17th, 1956, but recorded between 18 January 1956 - 6 March 1956, Armstrong plays a Selmer. Bing Cosby and Grace Kelly were two of the actors starring. That year Downbeat magazine shows Armstrong in a Selmer ad again.


Louis Armstrong is pictured with an Emo trumpet on several covers of records, books, programms and magazines. These pictures sometimes appear on publications at a time when Armstrong already played Selmer again, like there are a lot of Selmer pictures used at the time when he already played the Emo. Below are the covers where the Emo is pictured.

So after the Emo, Armstrong returned to Selmer. Here Greg Englert is trying out a Selmer that's kept at Louis Armstrong Archive, Queens College, New York. A Selmer K Modified, serial number 20405, made in 1960/1961.

Hugh Masekela

Armstrong in 1956 donated one of his F.X. Hüller instruments to the Huddleston Jazz Band, where it was given to young Hugh Masekela (1939-2018) to play it. In November 1957, Father Trevor Huddleston published an amazing essay in Harper's Magazine outlining his involvement in the formation of the Huddleston Jazz Band at St. Peter's School in Johannesburg. This is one of the earliest media accounts featuring the young Hugh Masekela who is referred to as "Hugh" in the text. The Reverend discusses how he acquired Hugh's first trumpet from a second-hand music store in Johannesburg in 1954. Huddleston was subsequently also instrumental in securing another trumpet for Hugh, an F.X. Hüller, as a gift from Louis Armstrong. In 1956, when Huddleston was in the US publicising his book Naught for Your Comfort, he told Masekela’s story to a journalist, who suggested that it might interest Louis Armstrong, the best known trumpeter of the day. Armstrong was fascinated and handed Huddleston one of his horns to give to Masekela. “I sent it straight to South Africa, and I have a wonderful picture of Hugh jumping for joy,” said Huddleston. Masekela made his first recordings using the "Satchmo" trumpet with the Father Huddleston Band that same year. The group then included Jonas Gwangwa, Zakes Moyake, George Makhene amongst others. The obituary and a sound example of Masekela playing the Emo/Hüller is found at Flatint blogspot

Now there's of course the question why Armstrong moved from Selmer to Emo and why did he go back after 4 years. I have to find an answer yet. In 1953 the other famous Selmer player Harry James (1916- 1983) also moved to another brand, he went to play a King Symphony. "Because Selmer wouldn't make a 'Harry James' model", as Trumpetherald member Textr states. Selmer had made a ' 'Louis Armstrong balanced model', way back in 1933 already. And they had used his name and picture regularly in their advertisements. It's easy to speculate about Selmer no longer being interested in Armstrong, or Armstrong's manager Joe Glaser wanting to much in return for the endorsement. Armstrong had moved from the bigband to his All Stars line up, new jazz greats like Miles Davis were emerging, Armstrongs popularity under the black audiences had diminished, he got critical reactions when he used the word 'darkies'. But in Europe he was hugely popular. In an Down Beat ad approximately 1956 Armstrong pops up again. It says: 'Satchmo' entrusts his reputation only to Selmer - and has for more than twenty years." Which we now know is a lie.

Ernst Modl serial number overview

Not all the Modl instruments have serial numbers but I think most have one. And they give a valuable insight in the Emo production. Most important observation is that there's a steady line from the first ones up to 8000. That's a strong indication they all come from the same spot. I listed the Emo's as well as the trumpets and bugles from other brands that are supposed to be Modl-made, the Rudy Mucks, Buffets, Ludwigs, Smiths and so. From the first 1000 some 40 are (disputable) stencils (mainly bugles) and 66 are Modls own brand. From nr 29 Buffet trumpets chime in, and between 1100 and 4000 Rudy Muck takes 36 against 45 Emo's. 4988 is the 'last' Buffet and highest Emo number so far is 8125. I'm not sure that all the stencil instruments listed here are Emo-made. Rudy Muck as well as Buffet and Evette Schaeffer have almost identical trumpets with serials in the 6 digit range. They certainly will be from another source. My aim was to create a kind of data base to be able to compare the Emo's and the other ones that are supposed to be Emo-made. I'm in the process of doing that. So if you have an instrument of any of the brands below with a serial number that fits in this list, please let me know at info@brasspedia.com.

Serial number Model Notes Source
Emo World no serial.jpg
no serial World
Emo World no serial 2.jpg
Emo 18,19,20 Champion.JPG
valve numbers 18,19,20 Champion One of the few Emo's with numbered valves without a serial number. Presumably one of the first Emo's
Emo 184,185,186 Champion 0.JPG
valve numbers 184,185,186 ? Champion One of the few Emo's with numbered valves without a serial number. Presumably one of the first Emo's
Emo 184,185,186 Champion 2.JPG
So far the only one with a 'Made in Germany' engraving
Emo 2 Professional.jpg
2 Professional
Emo 4 Professional 0.jpg
4? Professional
Emo 4 professional 3.jpg
Buffet 4.jpg
4? Buffet
Buffet 4 7.jpg
Emo 9 Professional.JPG
9 Professional
Ludwig 11 0.jpg
11 Ludwig single valve bugle ?
12 Champion Super
13 Ludwig Stamped Germany, 2 valve?
Wilhelm Monke 14.jpg
14 Wilhelm Monke
Emo 18 Champion trombone.jpg
18 Champion trombone
Emo 18 Champion.JPG
18 Champion
Buffet 29.jpg
29 Buffet
Emo 30 Professional.jpg
30 Professional bought in Trier ca 1964
Emo 32 Champion 2021.jpg
32 Champion
Wilhelm Monke 34.jpg
34 Wilhelm Monke
Smith 34.jpg
34 Smith Music Sales different braces
Ludwig 36 0.jpg
36 Ludwig 'Germany' stamped on the mouthpiece reciever, but presumably not Emo made
Emo 46 Professional C en Bb 1.jpg
46 Professional Bb/C
Wilhelm Monke 52.jpg
52 Wilhelm Monke
52 Buffet Answers.com
54 Smith Music Sales 1 valve baritone G bugle
Emo 56 World de Luxe.JPG
56 World de Luxe
Emo 56 Champion.jpg
56 Champion
Emo 68 World de Luxe.JPG
68 World de Luxe File:H Glassl 180 1.JPG
Smith Music Sales 68 of 88.jpg
68 or 88 Smith Music Sales
Emo 77 World de Luxe 0.jpg
77 World de Luxe
Emo 78 Champion.jpg
78 Champion
Emo 81 World de Luxe color.jpg
81 World de Luxe color
91 World de Luxe color
Ludwig 1xx 0 PAT APD FOR (1).jpg
1xx Ludwig baritone bugle Germany pat.pen.
Emo 122 Champion.JPG
122 Champion EMO?, (too) small logo removed
Emo 122 1.JPG
127 Peate one valved bugle Trumpetmaster
135 DEG Caravelle flugel HUC forum
Emo 136.JPG
136 Champion
Emo 148 De Luxe.jpg
148 De Luxe The only 'De Luxe' so far, no 'World'
Emo 148 De Luxe 1.jpg
Emo 155 Standard.png
155 Emo Standard F.X.Hüller & Co
Emo 156 Champion.JPG
156 Champion
Emo 157 Champion.jpg
157 Champion
Emo 172 Champion ventieltrombone 1 (2).jpg
172 Champion valve trombone
Emo 179 Champion flugel 2.jpg
179 Champion flugel
H Glassl 180.JPG
180 H. Glassl
H Glassl 180 1.JPG
Emo 189 Champion.jpg
189 Champion
214? Champion
Emo 215 Champion.jpg
215? Champion
Smith Music Sales 227 (4).png
227 of 232 Smith Music Sales bariton bugle
Ludwig 235 Germany.JPG
235 Ludwig double valve bugle in G Germany
245 Buffet Crampon
Buffet Crampon 268 HUC 18-20 Pge du Cerf 0.jpg
268 Buffet Crampon HUC
Emo 276 Champion 0.jpg
276 Champion '1959/1960'
Emo 297 Champion.JPG
297 Champion
Emo 299 Champion 0.JPG
299 Champion
Ludwig 308 bugle.jpg
308 Ludwig tenor bugle Germany pat.pen.
Emo 3xx 0 Eddy Curr.jpg
3xx Professional coll. Eddy Curr TF
Emo 319 Standard 0.jpg
319 Emo Standard F.X.Hüller & Co
335 Ranger II HUC forum
Emo 353 Champion.jpg
353 Champion
Emo 354 Champion.JPG
354 Champion
Buffet 360 American Model.jpg
360 Buffet American
Ludwig 397.jpg
397 Ludwig reciever might not be original
397 Buffet TH
402 Buffet Balanced 18-20 PGE DUG D CERF
Ludwig 403 Pat. Pending.jpg
403 Ludwig single valve bugle Pat.Pend.
Luxor 440 2.JPG
440 Luxor
Emo 442 Professional.JPG
442 Professional
454 Champion
Buffet 455 cornet 2.jpg
455 Buffet cornet
Emo 480 Professional.jpg
480 Professional
Emo 492 5.jpg
492 Emo Standard F.X.Hüller & Co
Emo 498 Champion.jpg
498 Champion
Emo 509 Champion 0.jpg
509 Champion TF
Smith Music Sales 510 0.jpg
510 Smith Music Sales TF
Emo 530 Professional 2.JPG
530 Professional
Emo 547 Professional.jpg
547 Professional
Emo 548 Champion .jpg
548 Champion
Emo 550 Professional 3.jpg
550 Professional
Emo 563 World 0.jpg
563 World
572 Rudy Muck 2m
576 World de Luxe color
Smith 606.jpg
606 Smith Music Sales or 909? 108 on lever. bugle
Emo 612 Professional.JPG
612 Professional
Emo 615 Champion.JPG
615 Champion
DEG 616 Ranger II.jpg
616 DEG Ranger II
Emo 630 Professional 2.JPG
630 Professional
Emo 632 Champion Super.jpg
632 Champion Super
Emo 643 Professional 0.JPG
643 Professional
Ludwig 652 10.jpg
652 Ludwig single valve bugle, USMC United States Marine Corps, Germany on reciever
Emo 654 Professional.jpg
654 Professional
Smith 661 0.jpg
661 Smith Music Sales single valve horn (French horn?)
Emo 665 World (14).png
665 World
Waterloo Champion 666 0.jpg
666 Waterloo Champion G bugle Kijiji
Buffet 698.jpg
698 Buffet 18-20 PGE DUG D CERF on bell
701 DEG Ranger II HUC forum
703 Buffet brasshistory
Buffet 708.jpg
708 Buffet 18-20 PGE DUG D CERF on bell
Emo 724 Champion.JPG
724 Champion 50's
737 Waterloo Champion bugle
Emo 747 Champion 0.JPG
747 Champion
Smith 754 horn bugle 0.jpg
754 Smith Music Sales French horn bugle
Buffet 764 brass history.jpg
764 Buffet
766 World
Ludwig 781 0.jpg
781 Ludwig
Emo 794 Champion.jpg
794 Champion ca 70 yr
Ludwig 798.jpg
798 Ludwig
Emo 81x World trompete pt.jpg
81x World Trompete.pt
Emo World 814.JPG
814 World
Emo 817 Professional.jpg
817 Champion
Emo 841 Champion.JPG
841 Champion
Emo 859 Champion 0.jpg
859 Champion
Emo 869 Champion.jpg
869 Champion
Emo 881 Champion.JPG
881 Champion
Emo 896 Champion.jpg
896 Champion
Emo 896 World.jpg
896 World
DEG 905 Ranger II.jpg
905 DEG Ranger II
Emo 935 Professional .JPG
935 Professional
Buffet 942 2.jpg
942 Buffet
Emo 949 Champion 0.JPG
949 Champion
Emo 962 Professional 0.jpg
962 Professional
1024 World TF
Emo 1026 World.JPG
1026 World
Rudy Muck 1050 Citation uit 1958 bh.jpg
1050 Rudy Muck Citation warranty card from 1958 brasshistory
Emo 1107 Champion.jpg
1107 Champion
Buffet 1110.jpg
1110 Buffet
Rudy Muck 1122 4m 0.jpg
1122 Rudy Muck 4M
Rudy Muck 1210 4M.jpg
1210 Rudy Muck 4M ?
Emo 1314 World.jpg
1314 World
Emo 1323 World.jpg
1323 World
Emo 1433 world de luxe 2.JPG
1433 World de Luxe
Emo 1463 World.JPG
1463 World
15xx World TF
Rudy Muck 1592 4m 0.jpg
1592 Rudy Muck 4m
1605 Buffet brasshistory
Emo 1680 World (1).png
1640 World
Buffet 1645.jpg
1645 Buffet
Emo 1801 World.JPG
1801 World
Emo 1850 Champion.jpg
1850 Champion
Rudy Muck 1912 7M 0.jpg
1912 Rudy Muck 7M
Emo 1913 Champion.jpg
1913 Champion
Emo 1933 World.jpg
1933 World Yorkmaster
Rudy Muck 1950 4m.jpg
1950 Rudy Muck 4m Japan
EMO World 1955 Selmer-Style-Design-Balanced-Trumpet.jpg
1955 World 1955 or nr 1955..?
1957 Buffet Thea.com
Rudy Muck 1997 7M.jpg
1997 Rudy Muck 7M Dallas Studio
Emo Professional 2018 .JPG
2018 Professional
Emo 2067 World .jpg
2067 World
Emo 2104 World 0.jpg
2104 World
Emo 2106 Champion.JPG
2106 Champion
Rudy Muck 2121 7m denk ik (1).jpg
2121 Rudy Muck 7M?
Emo 2152 World.jpg
2152 World
Rudy Muck 2162 5M.jpg
2162 Rudy Muck 5M
Rudy Muck 2184 5M bh.jpg
2184 Rudy Muck 5M brasshistory
Rudy Muck 2187 5M bh.jpg
2187 Rudy Muck 5M brasshistory
Emo 2294 Champion 0.JPG
2294 Champion ca 60 year in 2019
2503 World de Luxe Louis Armstrong 1952
Emo 2506 Champion Super 3.JPG
2506 Champion Super
Emo 25xx Champion Super.JPG
25xx Champion Super .
Rudy Muck 2520 2M Dallas London Foreign.jpg
2520 Rudy Muck 2M Dallas London Foreign
Rudy Muck 2567 5M.jpg
2567 Rudy Muck 5m
Rudy Muck 2571 2m.jpg
2571 Rudy Muck 2M atypisch
Rudy Muck 2588 5m (4).png
2588 Rudy Muck 5m
Rudy Muck 2592 5M .jpg
2592 Rudy Muck 5m atypisch
2601 Caravelle HUC forum
Rudy Muck 2656 5M.JPG
2656 Rudy Muck 5M atypisch Dallas London
Emo 2676 Champion.JPG
2676 Champion
Rudy Muck 2700 7M balanced bh.jpg
2700 Rudy Muck 7M '1959'
Emo 2749 World.JPG
2749 World
Rudy Muck 7m 2772.jpg
2772 Rudy Muck 7M Dallas London Foreign
Rudy Muck 2798 model 7M.jpg
2798 Rudy Muck 7M brasshistory
Rudy Muck 2860 model 7M.jpg
2860 Rudy Muck 7M brasshistory
Emo 2925 World.JPG
2925 World
Emo 2930 World.png
2930 World
2990 Rudy Muck 7M
2996 Rudy Muck 7M
Rudy Muck 3006 2M Dallas London 2.jpg
3006 Rudy Muck 2m atypisch Dallas London
Rudy Muck 3xx6 7M.jpg
3##6 Rudy Muck 7M Dallas London
Emo 3022 World de Luxe.jpg
3022 World de Luxe
3056 Rudy Muck 7M
Emo 3168 World 0.jpg
3168 World
Rudy Muck 323x 2M.jpg
323x Rudy Muck 2M atypisch Emo Silber?
Rudy Muck 3257 2M Dallas London 0.jpg
3257 Rudy Muck 2M 'ca 1960' Dallas London
Rudy Muck 3337 4m 0.jpg
3337 Rudy Muck 4M Foreign Dallas
Emo 3361 Champion.jpg
3361 Champion
Emo 3386 World 0.jpg
3386 World ebaykleinanzeigen
EMO World 3387 Balanced Trompete 1.JPG
3387 World
Emo 3397 World ventielen 1 2 3.JPG
3397 World
Emo 3436 World (1).jpeg
3436 World
Rudy Muck 3485 4M.jpg
3485 Rudy Muck 4M
3489 Rudy Muck 4M 'Buffet'
Rudy Muck 3500 7M bh.jpg
3500 Rudy Muck 7M brasshistory, Worthpoint 35xx
Emo World 3507.JPG
3507 World
Emo 3528 World.JPG
3528 World
3561 Rudy Muck 7M
3567 Rudy Muck 7M Bought in early 70's
Emo 3578 World de Luxe 0.jpg
3578 World de Luxe
3580 Rudy Muck 7M
Rudy Muck 3622 7M.jpg
3622 Rudy Muck 7M
3633 Rudy Muck 7M
Emo 3665 World de Luxe.jpg
3665 World de Luxe
Emo 3666 World de Luxe color 0.jpg
3666 World de Luxe color
Emo 3759 World.JPG
3759 World
Rudy Muck 3812 4m.jpg
3812 Rudy Muck 4M
3829 Rudy Muck 4M
3852 World de Luxe
Emo 3865 World de Luxe 0.jpg
3865 World de Luxe
Emo 3868 World.JPG
3868 World
Emo 3871 World 1.jpg
3871 World
Emo 3873 Ernst Modl World.jpg
3873 World
Emo 3891 World 0.jpg
3891 World
3978 Rudy Muck 7M
Emo 3980 World.jpg
3980 World
Emo 3981 World.png
3981 World
Emo 4199 World de Luxe Color 2.jpg
4199 World de Luxe
Emo 4230 Champion.jpg
4230 Champion
Emo 4400 World.jpg
4400? World
Buffet 4458.jpg
4458 Buffet Crampon
Emo 4496 World.jpg
4496 World
Emo 4587 Champion 0.jpg
4587 Champion
Emo 4594 World.jpg
4594 World
Emo 4597 World.JPG
4597 World
Rudy Muck 4684 2M.jpg
4684 Rudy Muck 2M
Buffet Crampon 4732.jpg
4732 Buffet Crampon
Emo 4828 Champion.JPG
4828 Champion
Emo 4900 World de Luxe.jpg
4900 World de Luxe
Emo 4933 Professional.jpg
4933 Professional
Buffet 4988.jpg
4988 Buffet Crampon
Buffet 4990.jpg
4990 Buffet Crampon
5120 Professional bought new in 1959 TF
5290 Super Champion
Buffet 5356 0.jpg
5356 Buffet Crampon
Emo 5376 Professional 0.jpg
5376 Professional
Buffet 5484 cornet.jpg
5484 Buffet American cornet
Emo 5645 Champion cornet 0.JPG
5645 Champion
Emo 5652 World 2.JPG
5652 World
Emo 5681 Champion 0.jpg
5681 Champion
Emo 5735 Champion.JPG
5735 Champion
Emo 5876 Professional.JPG
5876 Professional
Emo World 5955.jpg
5955 World
Emo 6017 World.jpg
6017 World
Emo 6024 World.JPG
6024 World
Emo 6081 Champion 0.jpg
6081 Champion
Emo 6454 Professional (1).png
6454 Professional
Emo 6557 Champion.jpg
6557 Champion Worthpoint
6582 Professional
Emo 6612 Professional.jpg
6612 Professional
Emo 6849 Champion 0.jpg
6849 Champion
Emo 6881 Professional 0.jpg
6881 Professional
Emo 6942 Professional 0.JPG
6942 Professional
Emo 7373 Professional.JPG
7373 Professional
Emo 7532 Professional.jpg
7532 Professional
Emo 7688 World.jpg
7688 World
Emo 7854 professional 0.jpg
7854 Professional
Emo 7922 Professional.jpg
7922 Professional
Emo 7961 Champion 1.JPG
7961 Champion
Emo 8013 Champion.jpg
8013 Champion cornet
Emo 8103 professional 7.JPG
8103 Professional
Emo 8125 Super Champion 4.JPG
8125 Champion Super sold
Emo 8284 Professional 0.jpg
8284 Professional
Emo 12442 World de Luxe.jpg
12442 World de Luxe
Emo 12750 World 0.jpg
12750 Emo World Schmidtco? Bauerfeind valves
The higher serial numbers, not Emo
Evette & Schaeffer 66489 (2).jpg
66489 Evette &Schaeffer American
Buffet Crampon 70582 Model-Professional.jpg
70582 Buffet-Crampon model Professional Germany
Rudy Muck 603854 4M HUC 0.jpg
603854 Rudy Muck 4M HUC
612132 Rudy Muck 5M Brasshistory.net
Rudy Muck 612182 5m.jpg
612182 Rudy Muck 5m 'German'
Rudy Muck 612253 5m.jpg
612253 Rudy Muck 5m
Rudy Muck 615038.jpg
615038 Rudy Muck 4m
Rudy Muck 622787 7M gekocht in 1960.jpg
622787 Rudy Muck 7m Purchased 1960 RM serial numberlist
681608 Evette & Schaeffer cornet TH
Buffet 682236 American Germany .jpg
682236 Buffet American
683385 Buffet cornet TH