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Holton Professional Model TR160 Tenor Trombone

About the Model TR160

Founded in Chicago when Frank Holton opened a small instrument shop in 1898, The Frank Holton & Co. grew to one of the most influential instrument manufacturers in the first half of the twentieth century in the US. Today, the tradition continues with high quality trumpets, flugelhorns, and trombones being hand-crafted in Elkhart, Indiana, and in Eastlake, Ohio.

One of the flagship models of Holton professional tenor trombones, the TR160 has all the attributes of the TR158 but with an open wrap F section. Players will immediately notice the ability to play low-range notes without loss of volume or increased resistance. Its .547" symphonic bore and open wrap F section with a nylon ball-and-socket linkage make for a quick and positive response. The combination of rose brass bell and lightweight nickel silver out handslide tubes results in a quick yet dark rich sound. Dark but lively, the TR160 allows the musician to produce easily the perfects sound for a variety of styles. Available in silver-plate finish as model TR160S.

Holton - .547" bore, 9" rose brass bell, open wrap standard-stroke F-mechanism, nickel silver outer slide, clear lacquer finish, Holton 6-1/2AL mouthpiece, CTR160 woodshell case.

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After performing professional engagements with Sousa’s great band, Frank Holton opened up a small shop in Chicago in 1896, selling second hand instruments and his secret recipe of Electric Oil trombone slide oil.  For the first two years, business was tight and Holton would spend evenings and weekends performing just to draw a salary to support his business.  By 1898, business had sustained itself to the point that Holton could hire an instrument maker to begin making what he introduced as the “Holton Special” trombone.  As business grew, his “Holton Harmony Hints” catalogue increased in size to include trombones, cornets, valve trombones, and mellophones by 1904.

Business continued to grow and Holton’s instruments became the choice of top professionals including Vincent Bach, first trumpet for the Boston Symphony in 1914 (before he began building his own instruments in 1918).  In 1917, Holton signed an agreement with the city of Elkhorn, Wisconsin to build a factory.  In the agreement, a provision was made that if Holton paid out $500,000 in wages over seven years to support the community workforce, he would be granted the title to the land and building.  Holton met this obligation in 1920. 

In June 1919, to inspire a stronger workforce to move from Chicago to Elkhorn, Holton bought seventeen acres and contracted 27 houses built to offer to his employees.  Production of top line professional instruments continued to grow.  In 1929, Holton introduced a complete line of school grade instruments under the Holton Collegiate name. 

In 1939, Frank Holton sold his company to Fred Kull, a company employee.  In 1942, Frank Holton passed away.  Throughout World War II as most manufacturers did, the Holton Company turned to making components for the military.  As the war ended, the Holton Company saw steady growth.  In 1964, after pressures to offer a complete range of woodwind instruments, the Holton Company sold to G. Leblanc Corporation. 

During Leblanc’s ownership, Holton would rise as a leader in low brass manufacturing.  With the support of well known artists such as Philip Farkas and Ethel Merker; Holton’s French horns became increasingly popular.  Manufacturing of Holton instruments was retained in Elkhorn, Wisconsin until 2008 when it was relocated to Eastlake, Ohio.  

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