The earliest Distin instruments were made by Adolphe Sax or other French makers. Distin was probably manufacturing brasswind instruments in London by 1858, which were stamped Henry Distin, Maker. When the firm was purchased in 1868, by Boosey and Son, the name was changed to Distin & Co., and changed again sometime around 1874 to Boosey & Son. Distin was in business in New York city, once again under the name Henry Distin, Maker, by 1878.
When Henry Distin retired in 1890, the firm was called The Henry Distin Manufacturing Co., and was managed by Brua C. Keefer, Jr., son of the major stockholder. In 1909, the Keefer family purchased the remaining interest, and the name was changed to The Brua C. Keefer Mfg. Co., whose production continued until about 1942.