Antique Musical Instruments/Imperial Baritone


QUESTION: Hello,  

I have an Imperial Baritone from Williams Port PA.  It is about 28" tall and the bell is 12" in diameter.  I was unable to find a serial number.  What I would like to know is more about the Imperial band instrument manufacturing company i.e. how it started and how it ended and who bought them out.  Thank you.

ANSWER: The Imperial company is an interesting one.  It was formed in 1922, and they marketed horns for the School band market.  Also located in Williamsport, was the famous Distin, that turned into the Keefer company in 1907.  Since Williamsport is a moderate sized community in rural Pennsylvania, it seems probably that it was a spin off of the Keefer company.  They remained in business until 1935.

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QUESTION: Someone mentioned to me that Imperial was bought out by the York manufacturing company. Is there any truth in that?  Thank you again

I've not heard that.  It is also alleged that Imperial bought parts from other manufacturers and simply assembled their instruments.  I don't know what marketing advantage York would have gained from acquiring Imperial.  York already had its Grand Rapids USA line for the student market, so picking up a minor player in the student market would not seem to be a good business decision.  But that's just speculation.

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Kenton Scott


Please note: My area is BRASS instruments, not other wind, string or percussion instruments. I will provide information on antique, obscure and out of production BRASS instruments. 1) Please don't ask for evaluations, I'll not provide them on this site. 2) I am often asked very similar questions, so I'd invite you to first check on Much of the information I have garnered about this topic, I have posted on this WEB site.


I perform in several historical bands, have informally researched the area, repair brass instruments, and operate a Forum dedicated to the topic at

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