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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000175.txt from 1997/09

From: Jack Kissinger <>
Subj: Re: Linton Bass Clarinet
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 22:46:55 -0400


You are probably remembering an e-mail message I sent you a couple of
months ago. I have decided to respond to the list this time in case
anyone else out there has interest in/experience with R. M. Malerne or
Linton clarinets.

I recently purchased a wooden Linton Eb soprano clarinet (cheap) through
an ad in our local paper. After looking at the instrument in question,
I called the Linton company's 800 number (they are still in business
making oboes and bassoons) and, as luck would have it, Jack Linton
answered the phone. He told me that they stopped making clarinets in
1972, at which time they had been trying to produce plastic clarinets
with professional features. Their wooden clarinets were all made for
them in France. As it turns out, the Eb Soprano, Alto and Bass
clarinets were made by Robert Malerne using whatever labor was available
(sometimes moonlighting employees from Buffet and Selmer). As
coincidence would have it, my first wooden clarinet was a Malerne
purchased by my parents through a Sears catalog. I still have it and it
still plays but I would rate it as a step-up instrument at best.
Most likely the Bass at Illinois Wesleyan is a Malerne.

Gary Hopkins sent me a message around the time I was looking at the
clarinet, indicating that he had overhauled a Linton Bb soprano a few
years ago and, at the time, he would have sworn it was a Buffet. Turns
out he was right. While Malerne made Linton's "harmony" clarinets,
Buffet manufactured their Bb (and, I think A) clarinets for them. So
these instruments were of higher quality.

The Malerne company is no longer in existence. According to Jack
Linton, Buffet, Selmer, Malerne (and others?) all had their
manufacturing facilities in the same area outside Paris (sort of like
Elkhart, Indiana, I guess). Renault built a factory in this area which
siphoned off much of the area's skilled labor. Apparently, Robert
Malerne was unable to interest any of his children (or anyone else) in
becoming an apprentice and eventually carrying on the business so it
died with him.

I would be interested to know if your bass is wooden or ebonite. Based
on what Jack Linton told me, I thought Malerne was making wooden
instruments for Linton but Wichita band instruments has an EBONITE bass
which they state was made for Linton by Malerne. By the way they are
asking $695 for it.

I recall a much earlier posting indicating the presence of a Malerne
alto clarinet at Southern Illinois at Carbondale. It appears that we
have a hotbed of Malernes in our little section of the Midwest. Maybe
after my daughter (who recently started taking lessons on my Malerne Bb)
has progressed a little further, we can get together and form the
Malerne/Linton clarinet quartet (if you haven't turned your bass into a
lamp). Ought to be good for at least some polkas.

Any other Malernes/Lintons out there? Maybe we can make a choir.

Best regards,

Jack Kissinger
St. Louis

Roger Garrett wrote:
> I remember seeing a posting about this a couple of weeks ago, but I
> wondered if someone would address the issue again......
> Does anyone have any information regarding a brand name of bass clarinet
> named Linton? If so, please post on the listserv or feel free to email me
> directly.
> Thanks.
> Roger Garrett
> Illinois Wesleyan University

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