Tom Brown Professional Model Tenor Saxophone, ca. 1926

from the Bruce Vermazen Research Papers on Tom Brown – Silver plated brass

This tenor saxophone, constructed by the Buescher Band Instrument Company, is a stencil copy of their “True-Tone” model horn, but branded and marketed as a Tom Brown Professional model instrument.   The Buescher Company, like other leading instrument manufacturers, made stencil copies of their instruments for music stores throughout the 1920s and early 1930s.  For Brown, having the ability to market a specialized saxophone model made under his recognized name provided new music students additional incentive to purchase one of his instruments rather than another company’s horn.  Like Buescher’s “True Tone” saxophones, the Brown model utilized snap-in pads, which gave students the ability to fix their own instruments, a front F key, and 4-part left-hand rollers.  The Brown model horns, like the Buescher instruments, also came with finishes of lacquered silver and gold plating, and various engravings were available for additional charges.  

In 1921, Brown moved his family and band to Chicago.  There he opened the Tom Brown Music Shop, a music instrument store, in the newly constructed State-Lake Building located at 17 West Lake Street.  While Brown owned the shop, William H. Lyons saw to the store’s day-to-day operations. The instrument store initially sold Buescher saxophones, Selmer clarinets, Haynes flutes, Gibson guitars, and Leedy drums as well as sheet music and method books for the instruments sold by the shop. The following year, Brown established a music school within the shop, and renamed the store the Tom Brown Music Store.  In 1926, Brown moved the music store to 32-34 West Lake Street, which was at the corner of West Lake and Dearborn, a short distance from the store’s original location.  This is when he began selling saxophones under his own name.  The store remained in business until 1936 when bankruptcy forced its closure.