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Smithsonian Institution Collections

Trumpet owned by Louis Armstrong

Trumpet owned by Louis Armstrong
Smithsonian Museum
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Description
This 1946 Henri Selmer B-flat custom-made and inscribed trumpet belonged to Louis Armstrong. Armstrong had been playing an earlier version of a Selmer trumpet since 1932. 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 it on as a gift to a friend or colleague. In February 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. 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.
A brass trumpet with mouthpiece and case. The trumpet has a Henri Selmer Paris inscription near the bell and valve case, and "Louis Armstrong" is engraved on the leadpipe.
Created by
Henri Selmer Paris, French, founded 1885
Vincent Bach Corporation, American, founded 1918
Owned by
Louis Armstrong, American, 1901 - 1971
Date
September 1946
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Medium
brass
Dimensions
H x W: 5 3/4 x 21 7/8 x 4 3/4 in. (14.6 x 55.6 x 12.1 cm)
Type
musical instruments
trumpets