Olds Register survey form photo guide

This photo guide has been developed to assist with identification of terms and features included in the Olds Register survey form. Click on the Question for a link to a page with a full description.

Question 1. Instrument Type

Instrument type –

Trumpets are typically 20 to 22 inches long:

Cornets may have different configurations but are generally 12 to 15 inches long:

Flugelhorns are much less common and are about the same length as a trumpet but have a much wider bell:

Question 2. Which location is stamped or engraved on the Instrument?

All instruments made by F.E. Olds and Son were made in either Los Angeles or Fullerton California. The move from the old Los Angeles plant to the new Fullerton plant took place in 1954. The engraving showing the location of varies by model, but typically, this can be found on the bell engraving. The following are a few examples of where to look.

Question 3 Serial number

Olds serial numbers began with a 3 digit number in 1929. The in the first few years the location moved around but was generally on the right side.

In 1962, the serial number began to be stamped on the other side of the valve casing and was perpendicular to the bell. By this time, the serial numbers had exceeded 400000

Question 4

Model name. There are 24 different models listed. The model name is almost always engraved somewhere on the bell. The very early (3 digit serial numbers) models did not have a model name and were simply know as “The Olds” model. If you can’t find one of the 24 model names engraved on your trumpet or cornet, send us a message and we’ll try to help. Here is a brief description and a couple of photos of each model:


Trumpet and cornet models were made from 1948 to 1979. There are likely more Ambassador trumpets and cornets in existence than any other model for all brass manufacturers in the world. They were well designed and built and many are still in use today. One distinctive feature are the waterkeys that are on the bottom of the slide, which is different from other Olds models (and most other trumpets)

Ambassador cornet:

Ambassador trumpet (early models have the ring on the leadpipe, later models have the more traditional pinky hook).


The Special model was introduced in 1939 and trumpets were made until Olds went out of business in 1979. The Special model underwent a number of design changes over the years. The first models were generally lacquered brass until the late 1950’s when this model became “tri-colored” with a brass body, nickel-silver bell tube and bronze bell flare. In the 1970’s it was redesigned again into a Nickel plated model. All variations have “Special” engraved on the bell.