Selmer Instrument Models
Although, as the chart below illustrates, the Mark VI was produced until (roughly) serial #378000, this applies only to the Sopranino model. The Soprano, Baritone and Bass Mark VI saxophones were produced until serial #365000 in 1984, and Alto and Tenor Mark VI production ended (approximately) in 1975 at serial #239,595 .
Super Action 80 Series II, Series III and Reference horns are currently in production.
|Model||Start #||End #|
|Prototype & Stencil||1||(1904)||750||(1920)|
|Padless (Selmer USA)||27,000||(1938)||30,000||(1941)|
|Super (Balanced) Action||33,401||(1946)||55,200||(1954)|
|Super Action 80||315,501||(1981)||378,800|
|Super Action 80 Series II||378,801||(1986)||unknown|
The Selmer family traces its roots back to the 18th century rural Lorraine region of France with Johannes Jacobus Zelmer. Enlisting in the French army provided a means of moving families from the country to the city. For three generations Zelmer men served in the same regiment, while the boys, too young to be soldiers, played in the band. Jean-Jacques Selmer (son of Johannes Jacobus), in addition to changing the spelling of the family name, ascended to the rank of drum major. The military afforded great opportunities for education and travel.
When Charles-Frederic Selmer (son of Jean-Jacques) died in 1878 he left sixteen children, five surviving to adulthood. Of these, Henri and Alexandre graduated from the Paris conservatory as accomplished clarinetists. Henri went on to perform in the famed Garde Republicaine band and the Opera Comique. By the early 1900s Henri had opened shop at Place Dancourt in Paris to meet the demand for his handmade reeds and mouthpieces. Soon repair work and customizing led to the manufacturing of clarinets.
From 1895 to 1910, Alexandre Selmer served as principal clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. At the turn of the century, a small retail store was opened in New York City for selling the family wares. Selmer clarinets prospered after winning a gold medal at the Saint Louis exposition of the 1904 World's Fair. In 1918 Alexandre returned to Paris to assist Henri in their growing family business, leaving an employee, George Bundy, the rights to distribute Selmer products in the United States.1