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Holton Step-Up Model TR680 Tenor Trombone

About the Model TR680

Founded in Chicago when Frank Holton opened a small instrument shop in 1898, The Frank Holton & Co. grew to one of the most influential instrument manufacturers in the first half of the twentieth century in the US. Today, the tradition continues with high quality trumpets, flugelhorns, and trombones being hand-crafted in Elkhart, Indiana, and in Eastlake, Ohio.

The TR680 is a large-bore tenor designed to bridge the gap between small-bore and large-bore instruments. It is offers enough resistance for the student to produce a full sound and assists in maintaining intonation. The unique "flat wrap" F attachment provides an extra measure of protection against damage. The clear lacquer finish provides a subtle warmth to the overall sound. Available in silver-plate finish as model TR680S.

Holton - .547" bore, key of Bb/F, 9" yellow brass bell, unique flat wrap F attachment with standard rotor, yellow brass outer slide, clear lacquer finish, Holton 6-1/2AL mouthpiece, CTR680 woodshell case.

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After performing professional engagements with Sousa’s great band, Frank Holton opened up a small shop in Chicago in 1896, selling second hand instruments and his secret recipe of Electric Oil trombone slide oil.  For the first two years, business was tight and Holton would spend evenings and weekends performing just to draw a salary to support his business.  By 1898, business had sustained itself to the point that Holton could hire an instrument maker to begin making what he introduced as the “Holton Special” trombone.  As business grew, his “Holton Harmony Hints” catalogue increased in size to include trombones, cornets, valve trombones, and mellophones by 1904.

Phil_Farkas.jpgBusiness continued to grow and Holton’s instruments became the choice of top professionals including Vincent Bach, first trumpet for the Boston Symphony in 1914 (before he began building his own instruments).  In 1917, Holton signed an agreement with the city of Elkhorn, Wisconsin to build a factory.  In the agreement, a provision was made that if Holton paid out $500,000 in wages over seven years to support the community workforce, he would be granted the title to the land and building.  In 1920, Holton met this obligation. 

In June 1919, to inspire a stronger workforce to move from Chicago to Elkhorn, Holton bought seventeen acres and contracted 27 houses built to offer to his employees.  Production of top line professional instruments continued to grow.  In 1929, Holton introduced a complete line of school grade instruments under the Holton Collegiate name. 

In 1939, Frank Holton sold his company to Fred Kull, a company employee.  In 1942, Frank Holton passed away.  Throughout the Second World War as most manufacturers did, the Holton Company turned to making components for the military.  As the war ended, the Holton Company saw steady growth.  In 1964, after pressures to offer a complete range of woodwind instruments, the Holton Company sold to G Leblanc Corporation. 

During Leblanc’s ownership, Holton would rise as a leader in low brass manufacturing.  The support of well known artists such as Philip Farkas and Ethel Merker, Holton’s French horns became increasingly popular.  Manufacturing of Holton instruments was retained in Elkhorn, Wisconsin until 2008 when it was relocated to Eastlake, Ohio. 

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