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As a young man, Henderson N. White loved music and theater. He ran an instrument repair shop in Cleveland, Ohio, and became friends with the musicians in the city. One of the finest musicians was Thomas King, a solo trombonist with the Lyceum Theatre Orchestra. He urged White to design a new trombone and offered to help. The two men collaborated, White providing his mechanical skill, King contributing his experience as an artist. They tried their ideas, tested them over a period of months, and finally produced a trombone with a vastly improved slide action and superb tonal quality. White named it the "King" trombone, after his friend. It was an immediate success in Cleveland and soon became one of the most popular trombones in the country.
White followed his trombone success by designing and patenting a new silver cornet, which also won almost instant acceptance. Then came King trumpets, french horns, baritones and double bell euphoniums. And so the company began. It started because its young founder felt that every fine artist deserves the best possible instrument. The company's continuing developmental work has been motivated by this same commitment ever since.