(Donald A. Artley b. July 20, 1892 – d. March 20,1955) The Artley name, as associated with flute manufacture, dates back to as early as 1939, when Donald A. Artley, along with four family members, started the Artley Flute Co. The newly-formed company was naturally located in Elkhart, Indiana, a city then known as the nation’s center of band instrument manufacturing. Artley’s success has been attributed to his use of innovative design, while applying cost-effective production techniques. Artley flutes became quite popular with school musicians, as well as professional plalyers. Prior to starting Artley Flutes, Don Artley spent most of his early career working in the Elkhart music instrument industry learning the trade. Artley was mounting pads on woodwinds in 1920, and by 1930 he was a pattern-maker for C. G. Conn. In 1934 he was a repairman for Selmer, and in 1936 he was working as an assembler for Buescher. In 1938 he returned to Selmer as an assembler. Published accounts indicate that he founded his company as early as 1939, but it wasn't really until 1948 that his Artley Manufacturing Company was fully operational. Initially, Artley supplied its completed flutes to a New York firm for distribution. In 1953 the company was renamed D. and J. Artley Inc. after its reputation had spread. Richard W. Bosse became president and general manager of the company after Donald Artley's death in 1955. The company's name was changed to Artley Inc. in 1958. In 1960, C. G. Conn, became Artley's exclusive distributor. Artley introduced clarinets, oboes and bassoons during the 1960s, becoming well-known and respected for the manufacture of excellent quality woodwind instruments. The Artley company was purchased by C. G. Conn Ltd. in 1969. In 1972, C. G. Conn moved its entire woodwind manufacturing facilities to Nogales, Arizona. In 1980, Daniel Henkin purchased C. G. Conn Ltd. and all its subsidiaries from, then owner, MacMillan, returning Artley to Elkhart. Mr. Henkin, an accomplished clarinetist himself, had a penchant for having the company create small numbers of professional model instruments, which were engraved "DJH Modified" to signify his involvement in the project. To my knowledge, there are no records of the model numbers used on these instruments, indicating that they were, indeed, very limited in number. Henkin's health forced him to sell the company in 1985 to a Swedish company, forming United Music Instruments, with Artley as a subsidiary. Steinway & Sons, the piano maker, acquired UMI in 2000, later merging it with the Selmer Co. in 2003 to form Conn-Selmer, Inc. Although Conn-Selmer no longer makes flutes under the Artley name, its flutes continue to be played, sold, and respected on the used-instrument market. Note: From 1983 onward, add 50 to the two-digit serial number prefix to calculate the year of manufacture for all of the Artley product line.
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