In 1885 following graduation from the Conservatoire de Paris, Henri Selmer began making reeds, mouthpieces, and clarinets in Paris. In 1898, Henri’s brother, Alexandre left for the US and began selling clarinets as he toured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. These instruments would gain in popularity in Europe and America, winning awards at the 1900 Paris Exhibition and in 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. In 1905, Henri took over the Barbier Company, a flute maker in Paris.
In 1922, Selmer introduced its first saxophones under the name “Series 22”. The Selmer brand continued to grow strength in woodwinds. In 1931, Selmer Paris acquired the brass manufacturer Millereau and began making trumpets. Later Selmer Paris would even begin manufacturing guitars in partnership with Mario Maccaferri. It wasn’t until the release of the Balanced Action saxophone in 1936 that Selmer Paris truly established their position as the leader in saxophone design. The Balanced Action and Super Action saxophones would follow leading up to the introduction of the Mark VI in 1954.
Between 1954 and 1974, Selmer Paris sold over a quarter million units of the Mark VI. Even today, it is the chosen ‘vintage’ instrument by professionals around the world. As times changed, so did Selmer Paris’ models and the Mark VI evolved to the Mark VII, the Super Action 80, the Series II, and Series III. In 2003, Selmer Paris launched the Reference 54 saxophone which is based on the feel and response of the Mark VI with modern intonation refinements.
Today, Selmer Paris is a leading manufacturer and the choice instrument of clarinet and saxophone professionals around the world. The instruments continue to be hand-crafted in Paris with the fourth generation of Selmer family members leading the company.