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C. G. Conn



G.C. Conn Mardan ukulele
Mardan
Charles Gerard Conn started musical instrument manufacturing in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1873. He started with the first American made cornet and move on to become one of the biggest brass instrument manufacturers in the world. In 1915 Conn retired and the company was purchased by Carl Greenleaf with the business being renamed C.G. Conn Ltd. The firm also started to focus on school marching bands rather than the professional musician as it was a larger and more profitable area and to further this they started making marching band drums by first purchasing the Leedy Drum Co. in 1927, and then Ludwig & Ludwig in 1930. Both firms made Banjos before Conn bought them and Ludwig made some of the best Ukulele Banjos ever made but Conn wasn't interested in Banjos and ceased all production by 1932; in fact at this time Conn wasn't interested in any wooden Chordophone production and never played a part in the Ukulele boom of the 1920's.

The company flourished until World War II but had to change production to things for the war effort and after the war could not get back its position as the number one brass instrument maker. In 1969 and nearly bankrupt, the Greenleaf family sold the business to Crowell-Collier MacMillan, a publishing company, who moved manufacture from Elkhart to Nogales, Arizona and Abilene, Texas; and later into Mexico. They also greatly expanded the range of musical instrument that Conn branded and sold, including instruments imported from the Far East.

At this time G.C. Conn did brand a sell, certainly Guitars, made by Tokai Gakki in Japan but in 1974 instruments made in Korea as well. Guitar production with the Conn branding stopped in 1980 with another change in ownership however they now started the branding of Guitars, Banjos and Ukuleles with the brand name Mardan (a division of C.G. Conn). The name was made up from Mary and Dan Henkin, the new owners of C.G.Conn. This branding continued until the mid 80's and included instruments made in Taiwan too.

Conn is still in business today but have seen a number of changes in ownership and a merger with the U.S. Selmer Company in 2002 to form the Conn-Selmer Company.

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