The estimated production curves for the YORK Band Instruments are based on instruments
for which serial number and date of manufacture are known. The beginning serial numbers on the
above lists were calibrated by counting backwards from known/verified serial number (#112000). In addition,
an estimation of monthly-output in the early part of the century, and a correlation of serial numbers with
patent dates which appear on certain York instruments, has been taken into account. Six
individual yearly production rates are plotted above, and it is projected that the closest
estimate of the actual year of manufacture can be estimated by establishing a range of
possible dates from these production curves. For example, an instrument with the serial
number 28000 could have been made between the years 1904 and 1910, depending on the actual
rate of production. It is believed that the yearly production rate of 2750 instruments probably
comes the closest to meeting all the criteria used to establish this table, but variations
in yearly production are not known, so the range of dates is probably the safest way to
"guesstimate" the date of manufacture.
The last column represents a provisional estimate of serial numbers correlated by John J. Swain in 1996. These numbers seem to be consistantly higher than the other 5 columns; I do not know how he arrived at his numbers.
James Warren York was born on November 24, 1839, in Exeter, New Hampshire. He first
worked for the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory and in 1882 moved to Grand Rapids,
Michigan where he first played in a music pit. He then owned his instrument manufacturing
company until his retirement to California in 1917. He died in Los Angeles on February 9,
York manufactured a full line of brass instruments, both under its own name and
proprietary brand names. York briefly participated in two partnerships, Smith & York
(1883) and York & Holton (1885). In 1884 the company was known as J.W. York and
Company. In recognition of his infant son Charles E. York, he renamed the company York
& Son in 1887. York further changed the company's name to York & Sons in 1898 to
include his other son, Frank W. York. Both sons were active with the company until about
In 1897, Alfred J. "Bill" Johnson became the company's foreman. In 1913,
Johnson, along with John and James Duffy, formed a stockholding company, and when the York
family relinquished all interest in the company in 1926, Johnson became a co-owner. The
company was then known as the York Band Instrument Company. In December 1940, York was
sold to Carl Fischer Musical Instruments and Johnson left the company. During World War II
the company manufactured munitions. After the war, York produced student-line instruments.
In 1971, Tolchin Instrument Company who then owned York, closed the factory. Proprietary
rights were ultimately purchased in 1976 by Boosey & Hawkes.
If you note any discrepancies, or have
additional information concerning this company, we would appreciate it VERY much if you
would pass it on to The Music Trader. Thank you!