Determining the date of a York instrument made in Grand Rapids, Michigan is rather problematic because no records are available.Apparently, somewhere during the transfer of the company from Carl Fisher to Tolchin Instruments or the subsequent purchase by Martin Tolchin, the original records were lost, misplaced, or destroyed.
Patent number dating chart
Instruments made after Carl Fischer took control of York are included, but obvious conflicts in numbers are confined to their own section.
If you note any discrepancies, or have additional information concerning this company, please contact us here at Horn-u-copia. Swain, unfortunately, passed away in 2003 from a battle with cancer.
Additionally, we would be grateful to anyone who owns a York horn not listed to contact us with the name, type, cities, and serial number (etc.). When California State University, Los Angeles stopped maintaining his site, and with the data I had collected, I attempted to recreate the dating work he had done using his own pioneering work while adding additional instrument data (including saxophones), patent research, new information that has come to light, and information gleaned from Horn-u-copia. Swain had cautioned that a five year spread on either side (+-) would be most accurate when dating an instrument using his original work.
There is now an expanded information base of over 2,600 York instruments to reference, starting with"York & Son" in 1887 and continuing through several name changes until the Grand Rapids plant was closed in 1971.
For more information, go to the Detailed Record of York Instruments.
This page lists known and reported York instruments as a service to those researching York and owners of York instruments.
The source of the information is listed, and wherever possible, the serial numbers have also been verified visually.
Grand Rapids Band Instrument Company instruments, although made on the same York manufacturing lines by the same craftsmen(8), apparently had their own set of serial numberings(7).
This guide, then, confines itself to York instruments made in the Grand Rapids factory.
Following the list are the facts and assumptions which were used to create it.
This guide was started using details of just a few hundred surviving York instruments.