The History of Artley Flutes

Written by steven knight, ascap
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The History of Artley Flutes
(Photo: Sara Björk)

The Artley name goes back to the 1930s, when Indiana-born Donald A. Artley and other members of the Artley family started the Artley Flute Co. in Elkhart, Indiana, a city known worldwide for band instrument manufacturing. With innovative design, cost-effective production techniques and attention to detail, Artley flutes became popular with school band programs as well as professional musicians.

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Beginnings

Donald Artley spent most of his early career in the Elkhart music instrument industry before forming Artley Flute, which started out supplying flutes to a New York firm. The company was renamed D. and J. Artley Inc. in 1953, 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, a fellow Elkhart-based company famous for its brass instruments, became Artley's exclusive distributor. Artley introduced clarinets, oboes and bassoons during the 1960s, becoming famous for crafting affordable student-quality woodwind instruments.

The History of Artley Flutes
Girl with a Flute by Kamoteus (A Better Way)

Series of Ownership

Artley was purchased by C. G. Conn Ltd. in 1969. During the 1970s, C. G. Conn, attempting to cut costs, moved Artley's manufacturing facilities to Nogales, Arizona. In 1980, Daniel Henkin purchased C. G. Conn Ltd. and all its subsidiaries from MacMillan, returning Artley to Elkhart. 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 Aquisition

Steinway & Sons, the world-famous piano maker, aquired 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 passed down to second- and third-generation musicians.

Flute and Metal Piccolo Serial Number Information

Artley flute and metal piccolo owners can find the manufacturing date of their instrument from 1952 to the present using the information below. Serial number/date: 10000/1952 12000/1953 15000/1954 19000/1955 25000/1956 34000/1957 45000/1958 56000/1959 68000/1960 80000/1961 92000/1962 104000/1963 118000/1964 134000/1965 153000/1966 186000/1967 214000/1968 (Bass Flutes 0043-0059)
237000/1969 26400/1970 295325 to 322854/1971 322855 to 356526/1972 356527 to 396152/1973 396153 to 438130/1974 438131 to 472995/1975 472996 to 498126/1976 498127 to 523041/1977 523042 to 553155/1978 553156 to 587764/1979 587765 to 618788/1980 618789 to 643979/1981 643980 to 656814/1982 656815 to 677772 and prefix 33/1983 677773 to 687751 and prefix 34/1984 Add 50 to the serial number prefix to find the year of manufacture from 1983 to the present.

Plastic and Wood Piccolo Serial Number Information

Owners of Artley plastic and wood piccolos can find their instrument's manufacturing date from 1961 to the present below. Serial number/date: 100 to 137/1961 138 to 277/1962 278 to 327/1963 328 to 417/1964 418 to 466/1965 467 to 584/1966 585 to 727/1967 728 to 847/1968 848 to 979/1969 980 to 1081/1970 1082 to 135/1971 1136 to 1425/1973 2057 to 2573/1974 2574 to 3702/1975 3703 to 4456/1976 4457 to 4703/1977 4704 to 5304/1978 5305 to 5782/1979 5783 to 6191/1980 6192 and higher/1981 prefix 33/1982 Add 50 to the serial number prefix to find the year of manufacture from 1983 to the present.

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