Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The M.C. Gregory Saga Part VIIII (Epilogue part 2)

I figured that this would happen.  Just when I thought that I was done with the M.C. Gregory Saga, something else comes up.  Technically, the M.C. Gregory Saga is done.  M.C. made mouthpieces for his employer (Rico Products, Ltd) until the late 1940's.  Then, he made the "Master" by Gregory for for Rico for a few more years.  End of Saga.

But there is the loose end caused by Gregory's ex-son-in-law starting a business (Gale Products, Inc.), that business failing within a year, and some assets being sold to a local jeweler (Cesar Tschudin).  Tschudin partnered with Elmer Beechler for about a year, that business ended, and then years later Tschudin sold his business to Charles Bay.  As part of the purchase, Charles Bay ended up with some of the original Gale Products, Inc. molds.  People have speculated that he may have ended up with M.C. Gregory molds, in part because Bay hinted at that years later.  There was no real evidence until a few days ago.

Charles Bay passed away and months later things started showing up on Ebay that were listed as being from the estate of Charles Bay.  It was kind of odd in that his son, Jonathan Bay, continues on with the mouthpiece and ligature business, yet the items sold on Ebay were clearly being liquidated by sellers who didn't have a clue as to what they were selling, other than the items were claimed to be from the estate of Charles Bay.  It would appear that his son decided that the items had no value to the ongoing business and maybe little value overall such that the could simply be liquidated by someone without any idea of the item's value, or even purpose.  The listings said things like "I think this is a saxophone mouthpiece" or a "mouthpiece shaping tool mold."  Things like that.

Having yet to find a shred of evidence that M.C. Gregory was ever affiliated with Gale Products, Inc., or later with Cesar Tschudin, we can now look at the molds that were in the possession of Charles Bay and see if there are any M.C. Gregory molds.  Nine molds appear to have been sold so far on Ebay, most of them for tenor saxophone (no clarinet molds).  I contacted the seller and he said that there are no more.  

Here is the first one.


Click to enlarge

This one is interesting mainly because it is so different from the others.  It appears to have been gouged out of two solid blocks of steel.  



The table area wouldn't be flat, the shank isn't symmetrical, the casting would be rough, and there would be a huge seam flash, all of which could be milled off with hours of finish work.  The purpose of molding is, of course, to eliminate the subsequent milling.  When you compare this mold to the following ones, you will wonder if this one was ever used more than a few times.  It does have a shank plug that has a ring to create a space for a subsequent shank band, but that's not enough for me to believe this mold has anything to do with an M.C. Gregory Model A or B (except possibly an attempt to mimic a Gregory piece). 

Here is a more refined mold with much more complex milling and machining in its fabrication.  


We have seen this model of mouthpiece before.  It is a version of the Gale "Companion."  

The alto mold above was created by drilling a cone shaped hole through two joined blocks of steel.  Then an exact fitting cone shaped piece of steel was shaped to make the beak and another shaped to make the reverse shaped shank and neck opening.  A plate was added on both halves to create a flat table.  And, as above, a section was formed for the chamber plug to fit in.  Note that the pin arrangement for the chamber plug on this mold is different than for the above mold.  It is odd that the chamber plugs for the molds sold on Ebay do not seem to be interchangeable and the molds are stamped as to which plug works with which individual mold.  

Along with the molds, there were some blank mouthpieces from the estate of Charles Bay that showed up on Ebay.  Most of them were chipped or had some other defect.  Some of them may even be from other makers and just ended up in the same box.  Regardless, you can find the unbanded cone-shank Gale "Companion" (above) in this selection.



The above mold would produce the alto piece that is in the top row 5th from the right.  It would produce a finished mouthpiece like this.



Here's another alto mold.  This one has a fitting to create a spot for a ring shank.  It also has a fairly short cone-shaped shank.  Note that the separate chamber plug could not be used on the alto shown above because of a different guide pin pattern.



This mold was listed as "30-16," with 16 possibly referring to the chamber size.  The chamber plug is actually stamped #1.  You can see where the chamber plug meets the shank plug that it is smaller than the shank opening (which has been rounded off to make a smoother connection.  The chamber sizes in the various auctions appear to be 16, 18, and 20, so that is the same designation as used on M.C. Gregory mouthpieces.  I don't think that's enough to claim that these are Gregory molds or make the further leap that Gregory ever worked with any of the various Gale business ventures.  

Like the previous mold, even though this mold has a spot for a shank band, the shank itself is a simple reverse cone, not the graceful flaired cone used on the Gregory pieces.  


The above mold could be the mold for a Gale mouthpiece like the alto shown at the bottom left.


The next mold is for a tenor.  It was listed as mold #492, as that was a number stamped on the mold block.  Most all of the molds had numbers stamped on the exterior that are probably impossible to decipher.  

This would make the tenor version of the conical shank Gale.

None of the molds seem to indicate a Gregory Model A, Model B, or Master.  And although chamber designations are stated, each mold was sold with only one chamber plug and none of the chamber sizes seem to be interchangeable.  Some of the shank plugs do not seem to fit correctly at the band area and would create quite a bit of lathe work to clean up the area for a shank band.

The only Gale mold that I thought vaguely resembles a Gregory mouthpiece is this one for baritone.


It is possible that this is the mold originally used to make a mouthpiece used by Gerry Mulligan, assuming his was a #20 chamber size (the only chamber plug sold with this mold).  

Maybe it's time that we looked closer at the claim that Bay purchased any Gregory molds as part of his purchase of Cesar Tscudun's Gale (CTG).  Bay purchased in 1969.  In 1971, The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries still listed Gale Products, Inc., the dissolved corporation started by Maier, de Michele, and Satzinger.  Frank de Michele died in 1954.  Satzinger died in 1971.  Maier was basically retired from Rico.  And, of course, Bay didn't realize that any of them were connected to Gale Products, Inc.  Bay was not listed.

A listing in The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries is available to anyone who subscribes to Music Trades magazine, a trade publication for retailers and wholesalers.  As part of your subscription form, you can provide a blurb about your business.  A business can also, for an additional cost, place advertisements in Music Trades.  As we have seen, the business listing can lie dormant for years and is simply inserted in the next edition of The Purchaser's Guide.  In the case of Gale Products, Inc, the corporation was still listed as active in 1971 despite having been dissolved in 1949.

In 1973, Bay obtained a subscription to Music Trades and changed the old Gale Products, Inc. listing to refer to Bay-Gale Woodwind Mouthpieces, which stated:

Gale Products of Hollywood, Calif., formerly the manufacturer of Gale mouthpieces as well as the Master Model Gregory for the Rico Corp., was acquired in 1969 thereby making available to Charles Bay the excellent Gale saxophone (legitimate and jazz) mouthpiece line, and also manufacturing equipment to increase productivity without sacrificing quality.

Bay thought that he had purchased M.C. Gregory's business (Gale Products, Inc.), from Gregory's family attorney who was still running the business after Gregory's daughter Gale had died.  Ergo, he bought the company that used to make the "Master" by Gregory for Rico.  Because he knew that M.C. Gregory made the "Master" for Rico he concluded that Gale Products, Inc. made the "Master" for Rico.  Unfortunately, the facts show that the M.C. Gregory Saga isn't part of the Gale Products, Inc. Saga.

But there are other interesting things in this listing.  Bay's acquisition of Gale only made available to him the ability to manufacture the excellent Gale saxophone (legitimate and jazz) mouthpiece line.  First, I have never heard of Gale as having a legitimate and a jazz line of saxophone mouthpieces.  Second, in 1973 absolutely nothing is said or implied that Bay could produce a Gregory mouthpiece with what he bought from Cesar Tschudin.  It seems that the story may have continued to change over the years such that Bay might be able to produce Gregory mouthpieces.  The molds recently sold on Ebay have put that final part of the Saga to rest. 

Had Bay produced a Gregory mouthpiece, he may have learned the full history.  The final sections of the The Purchaser's Guide contain tables of various trademarks and trade names used by the subscribers to Music Trades magazine.  "Master," "Gregory," and "Gregory Master" are all listed as trademarks of Rico Products.  Malcolm Gregory was an employee of Rico, but Rico claimed his surname and model designations (including the "Gregory Diamond") as their own trademarks.  Producing or announcing the production of a "Gregory" mouthpiece prior to the dissolution of Rico in 1992 would likely have resulted in a cease and desist letter.  Not from Cesar Tschudin. From a real attorney.  

The End.  Maybe.











Friday, November 10, 2017

Charles Bay estate mouthpieces are coming around again!

At the time this blog was written, there had been some recent Ebay sales of mouthpieces from the estate of Charles Bay.  The original Ebay seller apparently didn't know much about the items, but they sold well because the connection to Charles Bay. The items are now coming back on the market from Ebay purchasers who thought that they knew what they were buying.  These mouthpieces are re-appearing with some very odd allegations (which seems to be standard with vintage mouthpieces).  I don't know if this one was refaced by the seller and would no longer represent Charles Bay's work on the piece (assuming that he worked on it).  If so, the seller was able to channel the ghost of Malcolm Culver Gregory to produce a mouthpiece that is reportedly spookily similar to a vintage Gregory.

This was the auction title.

GALE COMPANION .100" or #7 TENOR SAX MOUTHPIECE - CHARLES BAY ESTATE

This is what was sold. 



This is what was stated (in the original font).

RECENTLY I ACQUIRED SOME BLANKS AND CASTINGS THAT WERE PART OF THE CHARLES BAY WORKSHOP. MR. BAY TOOK OVER THE LINE OF MOUTHPIECES THAT DESCENDED FROM GREGORY AND GALE. 
HERE IS A GREAT GALE COMPANION MOUTHPIECE BLANK, EXPERTLY WORKED UP TO A #7 OR .100" TIP OPENING VINTAGE HARD RUBBER TENOR SAX MOUTHPIECE.
THE MOUTHPIECE EMITS A VERY FULL BODIED, RICH AND SOMEWHAT WARM TONE WITH SOME EDGE THAT WILL BECOME BRIGHTER AND MORE CRISP WHEN PUSHED.
THE DESIGN FEATURES A MEDIUM SIZED ROUND CHAMBER WITH SCOOPED SIDEWALLS AND A SLIGHTLY CONCAVE, ALMOST FLAT BAFFLE.  EXCELLENT QUALITY VINTAGE RUBBER.
GALE WAS GREGORY'S DAUGHTER.  SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTINUING THE LINE OF MOUTHPIECES WITH SOME IMPROVEMENTS TO HER DISCRETION.  THIS MOUTHPIECE HAS SOME SIMILARITIES TO A GREGORY 7A 16 BUT WITH A MORE DYNAMIC TONE CHARACTER NOT CAPTURED IN MOST MODERN HARD RUBBER MOUTHPIECES. PLAY TESTED ON RIGOTTI GOLD #3 SOFT REEDS.  THIS JUST SPARKLES WITH SOUND.

Whether Gale (the person and the business) descended from M.C. Gregory is covered in this blog.  We now know that Gale, (the person) knows little to nothing about mouthpieces and didn't have anything to do with this mouthpiece or Gale Products, Inc.  It is also odd that the mouthpiece "HAS SOME SIMILARITIES TO A GREGORY 7A 16," as M.C. Gregory had nothing to do with this mouthpiece or the Gale Companion or Charles Bay.

This is what a Gale Companion looks like.



As you can see, what was sold for $179.95 was not a Gale Companion.  Charles Bay did, however, use the identical blank sold on Ebay for some of his Bay mouthpieces.  Here is one.  


Here it is the same blank used on another Charles Bay tenor piece.  Do you think that it is likely that this mouthpiece descended from M.C. Gregory and Gale Products, Inc.?  Why not?  

Riffault sold blanks with a standard "in house" facing, but you could order them without ligature lines, the "STEELITE EBONITE" stamp, etc.  You could even order them without the "FRANCE" country of origin label.  More on that in the future Riffault blog.

Here is the same "Gale Companion" mouthpiece with yet another name stamped on it.  I paid $14 for the last one of these that I bought.  

When I spoke with Bernadette Mimault, the daughter of Maurice Riffault, she stated that Riffault sold blank mouthpieces to both Ideal and Charles Bay (along with lots of other businesses) during her more than 50 years working at SARL Riffault et Fils.  I'll write more about Ideal in my blog about Riffault.

The first mouthpiece above, which sold on Ebay for $179, may have had $175 worth of work performed on it.  I don't know.  But now you know that it is not a Gale Companion.  

So why would the Ebay seller believe that the mouthpiece sounds like a vintage M.C. Gregory mouthpiece?  Probably because of autosuggestion, a phenomenon related to the placebo effect.  If you believe that the Ebay mouthpiece was related to Charles Bay, you are likely to believe that it is related somehow to M.C. Gregory.  Why?  Because Charles Bay believed that some mouthpiece molds that he purchased were related to M.C. Gregory.  By repeating that story over and over, it becomes "established fact" to some people and they can hear the ghost of M.C. Gregory in a Charles Bay mouthpiece.  

I'm still looking for any verification that Charles Bay or Gale had anything to do with M.C. Gregory or his mouthpieces.  I'm also looking for any indication that Bay or Gale ever had the Gregory facing schedules, the Gregory company records, the Gregory engraving stamps, etc.  Obviously, if Cesar Tschudin (who produced mouthpieces under the Gale name) was a continuation of M.C. Gregory's business and producing any M.C. Gregory mouthpieces, he would have also included the necessary engraving stamp in the sale.  

Ooops, there has never been any mention of the engraving stamp, or company records, or facing schedules, or other items that would either indicate and/or be required for the production of a Gregory mouthpiece.  We will need some powerful autosuggestion to cover over those obvious omissions.  Powerful autosuggestion is obviously out there.  It is the amazing power of autosuggestion which produces that special Gregory sound in the above "Gale Companion" made by Charles Bay from a Riffault blank.  

Now that we have seen the actual heritage of the mouthpiece blank, autosuggestion would have us say that the mouthpiece sounds "IDEAL."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Gregory Saga Part VI

When we last left the Saga, we saw that Gale Products, Inc. had dissolved.  Some of the assets were sold to Cesar Tschudin as appear on an inventory dated April 19, 1949.  How did I get that inventory?  Same way we got most of the information.  Just blind luck.  Well, not quite blind.  

We were getting nowhere on our research when I decided to send some emails to businesses that might have had some interaction with Gale Products, Inc.  One of the emails was sent to Remlé Musical Products, Inc. because I knew that Elmer Beechler had started his business at about the same time.  I thought about sending one to Dukoff, Inc., but Bob Dukoff had left Los Angeles about the time Gale Product, Inc. had failed and I didn't think anyone at his company could help (although there are some wild theories out there that Dukoff was involved with Gale Products).*

I got no responses until Judy Beechler Roan, the daughter of Elmer Beechler, sent me an interesting email two months later.  


Hello Mark,

Sorry for the long delay.  It has been difficult getting any solid information.  I do believe the company was purchased by Cesar Tschudin in the late 40"s.  Tschudin was a jeweler and knew nothing about mouthpieces and at some point partnered with my Father, Elmer Beechler.  This partnership did not last long.

I have tried to contact Charles Bay because he comes into the picture sometime later but have been unsuccessful.

Holy moly!  When I spoke earlier with Gale Satzinger, I was expecting her to tell me about Cesar Tschudin, the attorney who ran her grandfather's business all those years.  I had hoped that she had received some kind of royalties or something.  Of course, all of that was just make believe and she had never heard of Cesar Tschudin.  We knew that he was a ski instructor, and later a "redwood novelty item" salesman, but then it was a dead end.  Judy Beechler Roan's email was a gold mine.

I do believe the company was purchased by Cesar Tschudin in the late 40"s.  Sort of.  We already had the articles of incorporation for Gale Product, Inc. and had already seen that it had failed to maintain its corporate status.  Had Cesar Tschudin purchased "the company" he would have owned a corporation.  He could have executed a shareholder buyout of Carl Satzinger and been named to the Board of Directors with Roy Maier and Frank deMichelle (if they wanted him).  Or he could have bought all of the shares and owned Gale Products, Inc. lock, stock, and barrel.  

But that's not what happened.  It appears that Tschudin bought only $7,000 of assets from Gale Products, Inc., a corporation that only a year earlier was valued at over $17,000.  Why wasn't Tschudin just brought on board at Gale Products, Inc. and continue the corporation with the Rico Product principals?

Tschudin was a jeweler and knew nothing about mouthpieces.  That's why.

To actually discuss "Gale" and it's relationship, if any, to M.C. Gregory or M.C. Gregory mouthpieces, we need to differentiate between the various Gale businesses, both factual and fictional.  When we read something about "Gale," we need to be clear as to what we are talking about.  I'm going to concentrate on just three, as the other versions seem to be fictional, but if you're interested, here's the rundown on the various versions.**

Gale Products, Inc. (GPI) was a California Corporation with an attorney and two very experienced musical accessory businessmen on its Board of Directors.  Cesar Tschudin's Gale (CTG) was Cesar Tschudin, ex-redwood novelty item and jewelry salesman, trying to start up a mouthpiece business with some assets that he had purchased from GPI.

And then there was a third "in-between" version, apparently as short-lived as GPI.  Tschudin had partnered with Elmer Beechler and, as Judy related:

"I do know for a fact that the partnership with my Dad was short lived.  Apparently, Tschudin was a bit of a curmudgeon and, as I understand it, was almost impossible to work with.  He turned in his shares on the 15th of September, 1950."

Elmer Beechler had started a mouthpiece business in 1948, later to be incorporated as Remlé Musical Products on March 28, 1949, according to documents from the California Secretary of State.  Beechler was later approached by Cesar Tschudin in 1949 to create a joint venture.  For a very short time, there was a "Remlé-Tschudin" mouthpiece business.  Bay apparently wasn't aware of any of this when he tried to figure out the history and related the M.C. Gregory Saga to Ralph Morgan.  When Bay claimed that "Gale" produced the "Master" by Gregory, we have to ask "which Gale?"  Since he was unaware of the history, how did he know who did what when?

We have learned a lot of additional things while trying to reconcile the facts with the original Saga.  Bay did not know, and maybe neither did Cesar Tschudin, that Carl Satzinger was M.C. Gregory's ex-son-in-law.  He did not know that Carl Satzinger had been one of the principals in starting GPI.  He did not know that GPI was started with the assistance of the principals of Rico Products, Ltd.  Finally, he apparently did not know, and Tschudin certainly did know, that Tschudin had originally partnered with Elmer Beechler for a short period because Tschudin was a jeweler and knew nothing about mouthpieces.

This newly discovered evidence also answers other questions, like "did Gale have a contract to produce the "Master" by Gregory for Rico?"  First, which Gale?  Claiming that GPI had a contract to produce the "Master" doesn't make any sense now that we know something about GPI.  Gale Products, Inc. was essentially Rico Products, Inc.  Roy Maier and Frank deMichelle were equity owners and on the Board of Directors.  Why would they need a production contract with themselves?  That makes no logical, legal, or business sense.

Claiming that Remlé-Tschudin or CTG somehow ended up with that production contract is just as strange.  First, a production contract would be quite an asset for obtaining lending or trying to join forces with a knowledgeable partner like Elmer Beechler.  It would have been an asset that would have been listed in the Tschudin valuation inventory of 1949.  Yet, as with all things that might indicate a Gregory connection, there is no mention of it on the list of assets or to Elmer Beechler during the year he worked with Tschudin.  How did he keep a production contract hidden from Elmer?  And remember, Malcolm Gregory was alive and well at the time (and some allege working with Tschudin).  If that were true, I'm guessing that Elmer would have noticed M.C. hanging around.

But it is Tschudin himself that proves that CTG did not have any production contract with Rico to produce the "Master."  The "Remlé-Tschudin" venture may have started in 1949 (with Elmer Beechler) and, when Elmer bailed out in September of 1950, Tschudin operated as CTG up until 1969.  (I've searched at the California Secretary of State, and there are no records of Tschudin filing for a business name of Gale or Gem after 1947.  He called his business "Gale," but it was never a continuation of Gale Products, Inc.).  

We now know that Tschudin had no knowledge of mouthpieces, so he would have required training in order to produce the "Master" by Gregory for Rico.  We can fantasize that he would have likely been trained by either M.C. Gregory or Carl Satzinger in order to fulfill any alleged contracts with Rico.   In which case, he would have known that M.C. Gregory didn't commit suicide in 1950, as alleged in the original M.C. Gregory Saga.




 Tschudin would have known that Carl Satzinger was Gregory's ex-son-in-law.  In fact, if Tschudin had any contact with Rico, he would have learned from Roy Maier and Frank deMichelle that they were directly involved in the startup of GPI.  He would have known that Gale was Satzinger's daughter and didn't die in a house fire.  All of the mistaken allegations in the original M.C. Gregory Saga were possible only because Cesar Tschudin and his business (CTG) never had any meaningful contact with M.C. Gregory, or Carl Satzinger, or a production contract with Rico Products, Ltd.  

All that Tschudin had were some molds and equipment that once belonged to GPI.  That is the Rico connection.  We know from the newly discovered evidence that purchasing some Gale equipment is as close as Tschudin's business ever got to Rico or the "Master" by Gregory.   Part VII.



*  
So how how do garbled stories get turned into mouthpiece lore (both in print and on the internet?  Let'stake this story as an example.  The mouthpiece is claimed to be an M.C. Gregory-Gale Hollywood-Bob Dukoff metal piece.  A what???  We are going to need some extraordinary evidence.


A white rubber tooth guard vulcanized into a Gale mouthpiece.  Click to enlarge.

Okay.  Let's look at this mouthpiece based on what we now know.  There is no evidence that M.C. Gregory ever had anything to do with Gale (any Gale), so a Gregory-Gale mouthpiece is really an incredible claim for which there is no evidence, let alone our required extraordinary evidence.  We know that Gale Products, Inc. used a round GALE logo stamp, not a stamp with generic block type as on this piece, so this mouthpiece is likely a later CTG product.  There is no evidence whatsoever that Tschudin ever met Gregory, or Dukoff, or that Dukoff and Gregory ever met.  And we know that Bob Dukoff had already moved to Florida about the time Cesar Tschudin began making these pieces.  Without musical make believe, this is just a metal mouthpiece produced by Cesar Tschudin using a commercially available casting.  The castings are actually listed in Tschudin's 1949 inventory given to Elmer Beechler.

And whoever stamped this this piece GALE seems to be new at the job.  You won't find such sloppy double-strike imprinting on a Rico (Gregory) piece, or a Dukoff piece, or a Beechler, or a Gale Products, Inc.  I wonder who could have stamped this mouthpiece?




There is a clue on the shank of this mouthpiece.  Remember that Tschudin had a "California" stamp listed on his 1949 inventory when he was trying to recruit Elmer Beechler (shown at the end of Part V).  It looks like Tschudin may have later gotten a Hollywood stamp and decided that Hollywood sounded better.  Hollywood in script is stamped over California.  Not the same level of craftsmanship seen on Gregory and Dukoff pieces.  I doubt that either of them would have let this mouthpiece out the door.

First stamped "California" and then over-stamped with "Hollywood."


Not the same quality as a similar casting used by Bob Dukoff.


Claiming that Bob Dukoff had M.C.Gregory hand finish this Gale pieces is a great fantasy.  What if we don't want to give that up.  We could claim that unless somebody can prove that a Bob Dukoff and M.C. Gregory didn't work together, and that Malcolm Gregory didn't hand finish the piece at his "company" (Gale), then the claim of a Gregory/Gale/Dukoff mouthpiece is true.   It becomes a matter of burden of proof.  Who has it and what is considered proof.  "I read it on the internet" meets the standard for some people.  For those people, it is now up to someone to show them that the internet lore isn't true.  I'll admit that I didn't start from that perspective.  As I said, I started from the position that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  And the evidence that I see, even though some of it is circumstantial, simply doesn't come close to supporting claims of a Gregory/Gale/Dukoff fusion mouthpiece.  

From what we actually know, it appears that Gale Products, Inc. had purchased some similar, maybe even identical cast pieces to those used by Bob Dukoff.  Many of the tenor castings were apparently later sold to Cesar Tschudin and show up on his inventory provided to Elmer Beechler as part of the Beechler-Tschudin mouthpiece business.  We know that Tschudin started out with a Gem stamp and a California stamp.  It appears that on later castings he may have changed to "Hollywood" after already stamping them "California."  


Some of these casting could have been finished by Carl Satzinger, a non-musician and M.C. Gregory's ex-son-in-law, and stamped with the round GALE logo.  Some could have been finished by Cesar Tschudin, a non-musician and ex-salesman of redwood novelty items and stamped with the Gem logo or a later GALE.  Or, maybe, some could have been finished by Elmer Beechler, a musician of some note and an experienced mouthpiece facer during his short association with Tschudin.  It is only the Dukoff/Gregory part for which there is not a scintilla of evidence.  If you play a Gem mouthpiece and feel that you are channeling the skills of Bob Dukoff, feel the resonance of an M.C. Gregory piece, and maybe get a little of that West Coast/Paul Desmond vibe, that's great.  That probably means that Cesar Tschudin did a good job.  

**  The first "Gale" is the one where M.C. Gregory changed the name of his business.  We haven't found any evidence that this ever happened, but it is alleged in the original M.C. Gregory Saga and figures prominently in the story.  Then, there is Gale Products, Inc. (GPI), which was a corporation that we discovered was started by Rico and Satzinger.  Then there is the "Gale" operated by Gale, M.C. Gregory's daughter.  We now know that that one is also fictional, but it is also alleged in the original M.C. Gregory Saga and figures prominently in the story.  Now, there is the newly discovered Beechler-Tschudin business venture.  This fourth version of "Gale" was apparently unknown by Bay or Morgan when the original M.C. Gregory Saga was published.  Finally, there is a subsequent business, which I call Cesar Tschudin's Gale (CTG), that was sold to Charles Bay.

Confused yet?  I know, we are musicians and like to play fast and loose.  But playing fast and loose with the facts is what got us into this mess.   A superficial assertion like "Gale produced the Master Model Gregory" must be clarified before we can even start to examine it.  

The Gregory Mouthpiece Saga Part VIII - Epilogue


In Part VII, I said that I would try to wrap things up with my interpretation of what actually happened in the Gregory Mouthpiece Saga.  We came across a lot of information that appeared much more reliable than the story related in the original Gregory Mouthpiece Saga and most of which directly contradicted the story.  What was just as frustrating was that Paul and I often disagreed as to how to interpret the newly revealed facts.  Should we tweak the original Saga to fit the new facts or should we abandon that part of the Saga and go a different direction?  

And we even had to decide what constitutes a fact.  We came across mentions of Gregory, Gale, Rico, etc., in old trade publications.  When trying to create a time line for the introduction of a mouthpiece, if we found it mentioned in a 1952 publication, it would have been introduced before then, but what could we extrapolate from that information?  For instance, what was the lead time for the publication?  Six months?  A year?  How accurate could we be on a release date based on an advertisement?

And for how long was a mouthpiece available?  If the piece was fabricated in 1954 (while M.C. Gregory was still alive and presumably in business), could that stock still be selling in 1960?  Or 1965?  And if it is still mentioned in a 1975 trade publication, does that really mean that it was still available then?  I need to find my 1965 Eric Brand catalog (the namesake of Brand numbers).  I remember seeing that he still had NOS mouthpieces that hadn't been produced for more than a decade.  As many of us know, mouthpieces don't go bad.

While conducting our research, I had an experience that shook my confidence in relying on some publications.  I have also been researching the disappearance of Riffault et Fils, a major French mouthpiece manufacturer.  I contacted the last U.S. distributor for Riffault listed in a major trade publication.  The distributor was listed as being located in Texas, but the phone was disconnected.  When I found another contact number and called them, I found that they had moved out of Texas years prior to the trade journal publication date.  When I asked about their representing the products of Riffault et Fils, they had to ask a long-term employee (over 20 years).  He had never heard of them.  They told me that they would contact the trade publication and correct the outdated information still being published after all these years.  The information just keeps getting published every year if no one bothers to correct it.

So much for my using trade publications to establish accurate time lines.  It made for some frustration when trying to establish production dates for mouthpieces like the "Master" by Gregory.  A publication might simply automatically reuse the same text year after year.  Finding text that indicates the availability of a "Master" by Gregory in a 1985 catalog might mean that the supplier provided that information to the publisher in 1965 (when the supplier still had new old stock from 1955).  

As an example in this case, we came across a 1958 trade publication that listed Gale Products, Inc. as established in 1946 and incorporated in 1947.  We now know that it was incorporated in 1948 and dissolved in 1949.  Why it was still listed incorrectly in a 1958 trade directory is anybody's guess.
In fact, GPI continued to be listed right up to 1970, when Bay changed the listing by informing the publisher that he had bought the Gale Products, Inc. (which, technically, he did not).  
  
I also came across a 1985 resource guide published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare, Office of Education that listed:  
Charles Bay Clarinet Products, 101 Forest Home Dr., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850. 

Manufacturers of custom-made hard rubber mouthpieces for clarinet 
and raxophone families. 



Bay-Gale Woodwind Products, 4540 Hollywood Blvd. , Los Angeles. 90027. 

Manufacturers of custom-made hard rubber mouthpieces for clarinet 
and saxophone families. 
I think that it is safe to say that the first entry wasn't accurate in 1985, as Charles Bay had moved to California in 1969.  Off by 16 years.  Bay-Gale may have been a going concern in 1985, but the address of 4540 Hollywood Blvd?  That was Carl Satzinger's shop address for Gale Products, Inc., a California corporation that had been dissolved 36 years earlier.  

And here is an interesting one from "The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries" in 1956.

“Gale Products, Inc. 4540 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 27, Calif. Established in 1946.
Makers of hard rubber mouthpieces and
mouthpiece blanks for clarinets and
saxophones. Also manufacture chrome finished metal mouthpieces.
The Gale line is
manufactured in their own plant, from raw material to finished product,
and
incorporates al
l
the latest developments.”
Gale Products, Inc.  4540 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 27, Calif. Established in 1946. Makers of hard rubber mouthpieces and mouthpiece blanks for clarinets and saxophones. Also manufacture chrome finished metal mouthpieces. The Gale line is manufactured in their own plant, from raw material to finished product, and incorporates all the latest developments.

Again, Gale Product, Inc., had been administratively dissolved seven years earlier and was no longer at this address in 1956.  But more importantly, there is absolutely no mention of M.C. Gregory, the "Master" by Gregory, Rico Products, or anything else related to M.C. Gregory in this early listing of products available through Gale Products, Inc. 
The Purchaser's Guide also contains a list of trademarks and trade names associated with a listed business.  "Gregory," "Master," "Diamond," "Gregory Master," "Gregory Diamond (resonite)" are listed as products produced by Rico.  GPI lists "Gale" as its trademark on hard rubber mouthpieces.

The allegation of a relationship between any Gale business and any Gregory mouthpieces appears only after Cesar Tschudin sold his business to Bay.  Subsequent listings submitted by Bay-Gale suddenly include a reference to the "Master" by Gregory.  The ghost of M.C. Gregory was resurrected through a jumbled saga and some still make the unsubstantiated connection.  

That's my interpretation from examining old submissions made to "The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries."  For the opposite conclusion, check out Paul's interpretation in his findings at his dropbox.com site.  We had the same evidence most of the way through the research, but came to different endings.

Another problem that I have with trade publications (having been in them myself) is that they are not what might be called "peer reviewed."  If I'm a home builder, for instance, I can get listed in a trade publication (usually by paying a membership fee) and state that the homes that I build are all constructed of aged French lumber within a tolerance of .001 of an inch.  That's what will be printed in the trade journal.  If a business claims that their mouthpieces are made completely in house using a super special hard rubber compound, that's what will be printed even though the pieces are generic blanks outsourced from a third-party using standard ebonite (standard ebonite being, well, the standard).    

Just as frustrating was trying to garner some evidence from the embossing on the mouthpieces.  That's what most people look at (that and the shape) and come up with all kinds of information about the history of the mouthpiece.  I found that it wasn't generally straight forward.  For instance, serial numbers can mean several things.  We know (as with some Brilhart pieces) the serial number can indicate the date of production, or the number in a particular production run (with the next batch up or down by 1,000, etc.), or maybe even intermittently numbered to fill particular contracts.  There is no requirement that serial numbers have to be sequential.

Here is an example of an embossing machine used to put serial numbers on mouthpieces.  It has a cradle to ensure that each piece is stamped in the same orientation.  It has a little lever on it to advance the number for each piece, much like the old "manual advance Bates stamp."  The lever in front is used to manually advance the number.  If you forget to advance, it keeps stamping the same number.  Pull it three times and you simply skip those numbers.  You can easily change the number for a different model or a production run.   

This isn't the machine used by M.C. Gregory.  Any idea whose machine this is?

I even looked at the various fonts used by Gregory and Gale and couldn't find any overlap in the type of fonts used (sans serif, different type sets, etc.).  Very tedious and not very conclusive.  

One area that was interesting was looking closely at serial numbers after Judy Beechler Roan told me that her father had produced the Reloplex.  I have no reason to doubt her and she will probably come up with more evidence, but I looked closely at the Reloplex and the hard rubber pieces produced by Remlé Musical Products, Inc.  Unlike Gale Products, Inc. and the later Tschudin mouthpieces, the Reloplex had serial numbers.  Unlike Gregory pieces, the serial numbers were on the barrel next to the table.  And unlike most pieces where the serial number is next to the table, Remlé and Ricoplex numbers all faced away from the table.
Beechler hard rubber.

Reloplex serial number.


Not exactly incontrovertible evidence.  And some early Dukoff fluted chambers were stamped in a similar orientation, although with a different font.  I need to see more examples of both early Beechlers and Reloplex.  Until then, you are free to fantasize that the Reloplex was made by Bob Dukoff, which I believe is more likely than it having been produced by Cesar Tschudin.

I've already stated that I didn't think that Cesar Tschudin's Gale (CTG) had anything to do with producing the Reloplex.  Since there is no evidence that he had anything to do with Malcolm Gregory or Gregory mouthpieces, the idea that the Reloplex is somehow a "Gregory/Gale" piece is just more mouthpiece make-believe.  For instance, when did Cesar Tschudin, the ex-jewelry salesman, acquire expertise in thermoset injection molding?  Tschudin may have tried to vulcanize rubber, but the Reloplex is injection molded, a completely different skill set requiring a substantial investment in completely different equipment.  Equipment for which there is no evidence.  I guess that the Reloplex mouthpiece make-believe proponents can choose to ignore these facts.  But let's look around and see if there is evidence of anybody in our story who had experience with injection molding and maybe the necessary equipment.  

Elmer Beechler worked for Arnold Brilhart in New York in the 1940's.  At that time, Brilhart was injection molding mouthpieces and synthetic reeds, a relatively new and innovative process.  In fact, Brilhart's company had sufficient expertise such that part of its production was commandeered for the war effort.  Mr. Brilhart later quipped that he didn't even know the purpose of the little parts that his company fabricated for the U.S. government, but he assumed that he had made triggers for nuclear bombs.  Okay, maybe not so funny, but clearly Elmer Beechler was working for a company that knew how to tool and produce injection molded items.  So, why would we ever assume that Rico retained an ex-jeweler who may have known a little about vulcanizing rubber to produce its new thermoset injection molded plastic mouthpiece?  Even the Gale-Reloplex fantasy was left out of the original Gregory Mouthpiece Saga.  And I think that the Gregory Diamond resonite pieces were also left out, although some might still claim that Tschudin made those despite both a lack of evidence and no such claim in the original Gregory Mouthpiece Saga.

When looking for evidence, I tend to prefer, if I can, talking with somebody who has direct knowledge.  Even better are public documents.  There might still be more of both out there.  We are still in contact with Judy Beechler Roan.  The Satzinger family's recollections are kind of tapped out.  For instance, Gale never saw her grandfather play a musical instrument and vaguely remembers that he might have had a workshop in his basement.  She visited him a few times, but they were not very close.  In fact, she only learned in 2016 that her grandfather had committed suicide (she learned from a saxophone player who was familiar with the original 
Gregory Mouthpiece Saga article).  And she was, after all, only 5 years old when her father formed Gale Products, Inc. (and maybe 6 when it was dissolved).  And that was 70 years ago.  When I spoke with her, it was obvious that she remembered about the same amount as I do about my own father's business dealings when I was 6.*  

Gale knew that her father Carl Satzinger once had a shop that made mouthpieces, and she visited the shop as a child, but she was surprised that Gale was in business until 1969.  (Of course, when speaking with her I had incorrectly assumed that there had only been one "Gale" mouthpiece business). She didn't think that her father and her grandfather ever worked together at Gale.  She told me that she had never heard of the "company attorney" Cesar Tschudin.  There are several Satzinger cousins who think they might have some pictures of M.C. Gregory and maybe the Gale Products, Inc. shop, but I'm not sure how helpful they would be.  Of course, as we have learned, any little bit of evidence might lead to a different path.

It is possible, even likely, that there are more public records available.  Unfortunately, it gets more costly and time consuming to continue the research (I'm fairly certain that we have spent a lot more time and money on the Saga than Ralph Morgan did because the internet allows for essentially endless fact checking and online ordering of public records). 


The Social Security Administration would have M.C. Gregory's employment records back to 1936 showing whether he was a Rico employee during the entire period (preliminary evidence is that Gregory was a Rico employee).  Social Security records might also confirm that he never worked for Gale Products, Inc. or with Elmer Beechler, or with Tschudin's subsequent business, or maybe that his employment at Rico ended several years prior to his death in 1955.  In fact, a SSA search might produce the first shred of evidence of a connection between Gregory and Gale.  Or, more likely, further proof that there was never a connection.  A FIOA (Freedom of Information Act) claim would have to be made and, if successful, research and copy fees paid.  A title search on the Gregory residence might show whether he was in foreclosure at the time of his death, or even whether unknown heirs appeared after his death.  I know, further research gets a bit morbid and intrusive.

If you have read the prior parts, you will have seen that I was unable to keep my theories to myself in several places.  Now it's time for my own conjecture.  I've already stated that I did not think it likely that there was any difference between Gregory and Rico, with the "Gregory by Rico" simply being a Rico product badged with the Gregory name.  There could have been a later rift between Rico and Gregory.  Rico may have thrown in with Carl Satzinger to produce some additional mouthpieces for them and Gregory didn't go along with that decision and, as it appears, he wanted nothing to do with Gale.  Malcolm Gregory, knowing his ex-son-in-law better than the Rico principals, turned out to be correct.  

The new company, Gale Products, Inc. burned brightly and then flamed out shortly after incorporation.  $17,000 invested, thousands of blanks were either manufactured and/or purchased from third parties, but the business imploded and $7,000 in assets were sold to Cesar Tschudin, including thousands of mouthpiece blanks.  Tschudin, apparently intending to use the name "Gem" for his new business, formed a brief and unsuccessful business with Elmer Beechler.  After that venture failed, Tschudin later used the name Gale (after first using the name Gem) for his mouthpiece business and continued to finish the blanks that he had purchased from Gale Products, Inc.  He later sourced his blanks from J.J. Babbitt.  Rico Products could wash its hands of GPI and simply go elsewhere for its mouthpiece production, as it apparently did for the Roy J. Maier, the Reloplex, and the "Master" by Gregory.  Rico never had anything to do with Tschudin.  Rico did contract with Beechler for the injection molded Reloplex.

M.C. Gregory soldiered on.  He came up with a "new" line of mouthpieces for Rico that were essentially a rebadging of his prior pieces.  One difference is that they no longer had anything to do with Rico Products, Ltd. embossed on them.  The other difference was the name.  They were now called the "Master" by Gregory.  This line of mouthpieces first appeared in 1950, according to printed literature, and may have been sold throughout the 1950's and maybe even later.  As we have seen from the list of assets sold by Gale Products, Inc., it is possible to produce an inventory of thousands of blank mouthpieces that might be finished and sold over the following years.  So it is hard to say when the "Master" by Gregory was last produced.  What I have not found is any evidence that the "Master" was ever produced by Gale (either Gale).  


At first I thought that Rico was no longer involved in the "Master" by Gregory.  One reason is simply the imprint on the Master. 



That signature is not just a generic font.  It's Malcolm Gregory's actual signature.  Here is his WWII draft registration again, with the unique Gregory "g" and "y."



By the time the "Master" came out circa 1950, Gale Products, Inc., started in part by Gregory's ex-son-in-law, was gone and some of its assets had been sold to Cesar Tschudin.  Based on the time line, it seems impossible that GPI could have had anything to do with the "Master."  

The detailed listing of assets that Tschudin compiled in 1949 didn't include a "Master" stamp, or a "Master" mold, so it's unlikely that the blanks that he purchased were "Master" mouthpieces.  Tschudin's inventory didn't list a serial number embossing machine, like the one shown above, which was used on all Gregory pieces and no Gale mouthpieces.  And I don't think that Cesar Tschudin or Rico Products would expropriate Malcolm's signature and order a custom stamp in order to produce the "Master" independent of Malcolm Gregory.  Finally, there is Judy Beechler Roan's assessment, based on her father's working with Tschudin for a year, of the likelihood that Cesar Tschudin produced the "Master" by Gregory: "Tschudin was a jeweler and knew nothing about mouthpieces."  And remember, Elmer would have been working at CTG during the time when the "Master" was introduced.

Then I learned that the "Master" by Gregory had been trademarked.  In fact, all of the names related to Gregory mouthpieces were trademarked.  Even if Malcolm's unique signature was not officially registered under a statute, it would be covered by a common law trademark and held to be the exclusive property of Malcolm Culver Gregory.  But in the back of the Publisher's Guide to the Music Industries, all of these trademarks are listed as the property of Rico Products.  M.C. Gregory was an employee of Rico, but it turns out that Rico held the right to use his name on their mouthpieces.

If we can find evidence that the "Master" by Gregory was actually in production after Malcolm Gregory's death, I'd probably vote for Elmer Beechler as the actual producer.  It makes more sense to me than imagining that Cesar Tschudin was the producer.  If Tschudin was unable to convince Elmer Beechler to work with him, why should I think that he could convince Rico Products to work with him?  And if Rico Products was working with Tschudin the entire time, wouldn't Elmer have known?  Then there is the fact that the chamber plugs required to produce Gregory mouthpieces were found in Elmer Beechler's old personal property.  And most importantly, if Tschudin had ever worked with Rico, he would have known the basic history of Gale Products, Inc. and the players involved.

There is the odd statement in the original Gregory Saga that "In 1969 the making of the mouthpieces was done in part by the J.J. Babbitt Co."  Some have thought that the statement means that J.J. Babbitt ended up with some of the Gale molds (or Gregory molds, if we still fantasize that Tschudin had them).  I'm going to go with a different interpretation of that statement.  I haven't seen any evidence that Tschudin ever made mouthpiece blanks much beyond those that he obtained in the purchase of Gale Products, Inc.  Nor have I seen any evidence that Bay, upon buying out Tschudin, ever produced a Gregory mouthpiece.  

Let's look at the evolution of the Gale "Companion" produced by Tschudin.  Here is an early one, which looks like the mouthpieces produced earlier by Gale Products, Inc. (but without the round GPI logo).



 This later model of the Companion is claimed to sound similar to a Meyer, but with some kind of a Paul Desmond vibe.  Here is what it looks like.


For more bizzaro claims about alleged Gale mouthpieces channelling the ghost of M.C. Gregory, check out this blog.

Gosh, it even looks like a Meyer.  I wonder who produced Meyer blanks and purchased the Meyer company and now makes the Meyer mouthpiece?  Here's a hint.  J.J. Babbitt. The statement that "the making of mouthpieces was done in part by J.J. Babbitt" I'm going to interpret as Tschudin had been buying his blanks from Babbitt.  Same as with other finishing houses like Bob Dukoff, Woodwind, etc.  And we know that Bay continued obtaining and finishing blanks from other vendors.  It's a time-honored tradition.




Knowing what we now know and comparing the two Gale Companion pictures above does give us a bit of further evidence.  Per his inventory, Tschudin didn't have the round Gale logo stamp in 1949, shortly after purchasing some assets of Gale Products, Inc.  We know that Gale mouthpieces stamped with a round logo indicate Carl Satzinger's involvement.  And we know that Tschudin was purchasing mouthpieces from Babbitt.  I think that the block letter GALE on the J.J. Babbitt "Companion" is an indication of a Tschudin product.  Both of the above "Companion" pieces would be Tschudin products.

It gives us a partial time line.  Round Gale is Satzinger, Maier, and deMichele operating GPI.  Block Gale is Tschudin and CTG.  That still leaves out the script Gale embossing like this.



I would have initially guessed that this was an early Gale Products, Inc. piece prior to Carl Satzinger developing the round Gale logo.  It has the three dots that another piece with round Gale logo had (shown in a prior blog).  And it has something closer to a Gregory shape and shank band that later Tschudin Gale pieces didn't have.  But then some Gale pieces from the estate of Charles Bay started showing up in Ebay.  It appears that the script lettered Gale could be late Tchudin and Bay.

There remains plenty of unanswered questions.  I guess the takeaway from all this is that there is a lot that we don't know.  Filling in the unknown areas with musical make believe doesn't really help us.  It is entertaining, just like a fairy tale.  And one can become an authority by just repeating the fairy tale.  So, why does your Gale Companion mouthpiece have that Paul Desmond groove?  #1) Because it is really an M.C. Gregory piece just like Desmond's or #2) Because it is a Babbitt blank finished by a jewelry salesman named Cesar Tschudin, who knew nothing about mouthpieces when he purchased some assets from Gale Products, Inc., which was a company started by Carl Satzinger, who was the ex-son-in-law of Malcolm Gregory, who was a Rico employee associated with a Rico mouthpiece that was used by Paul Desmond.  Number 2 doesn't have the same fairy tale quality.

Maybe we should be honest with ourselves and admit that there is a lot we don't know.  Use our ears, not our eyes, in deciding what sounds good.  Easier said than done. 

The End (of the blog, but probably not the Saga).


It turns out not to be the end.  Charles Bay passed in 2016.  Items from his estate have turned up on Ebay, apparently being auctioned off by sellers who have no idea what they have.  One of the mouthpieces is shown above.  It's going to require another blog to see if any of the items can shed light on the Gregory Saga.  And maybe even yet another blog to protect Ebay purchasers from paying $180 for Riffault blanks that happened to have passed through the Bay estate.

* A footnote on "Finding Gale" for those of you who might be interested.  We immediately found that the M.C. Gregory Saga was all garbled and Gregory's daughter wasn't named Gale.  Maybe GALE wasn't a name at all, but an acronym.  What did GALE stand for?  We searched all kinds of places with all kinds of theories.  We knew that Gregory's divorced daughter Maxine (who died in a fire) had a daughter.  I started to Google "Gale Gregory" and got a dozen possibilities, none of which panned out.   Then, I started searching for Gale Satzinger and got this Pasadena High School yearbook picture (top row).  



At that point, I paid to get an account on Ancestry.com and started looking for Gale Satzinger.  I tracked her through a first marriage, some additional personal history (though it was all public records), and located her in Colorado.  Okay, you can say that I was stalking her.  It felt that way to me, also.  Instead of contacting her directly, I again used Ancestry.com to find Carl Satzinger's brother, then his brother's widow, then his brother's widow obituary and memorial, which finally led me to be able to locate Gale's younger cousin.  I contacted the cousin first and explained to her that I was stalking Gale, but in a good way.  We talked several times about Satzinger family history and she had Gale contact me.  I was hoping that Gale could tell me all about the "family attorney," Cesar Tschudin, about her grandfather's mouthpiece business, etc., but she had little knowledge and those were just other dead ends.  

You can see how complex the research is when tracking down the particulars of a 1940's saxophone mouthpiece business.  It doesn't surprise me that the history got garbled.  And I can understand that some might prefer to keep it that way.