History of Fox Products

Hugo FoxThe concept of what is now Fox Products Corporation began in Hugo Fox's imagination sometime between 1922 and 1949, the years when he was principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He founded his company in South Whitley, Indiana, during the summer of 1949 and the first bassoon was completed in November 1951. During that first production year, 12 instruments were finished and delivered.

The business, which included bassoon reed manufacturing (started by Mr. Fox during the late 1930s) grew slowly at first. Nevertheless, the 1950s saw the addition of oboe reed manufacturing to the product line, and additions to machines and tools and a modest expansion of bassoon manufacturing.

By the last year of the decade production had increased to 60 instruments, along with 5,000 bassoon reeds and 10,000 oboe reeds.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fox's failing health threatened to end the young company as the fifties drew to a close. In the fall of 1960, Hugo's son, Alan, decided to give up his chemical engineering career and take over the family business, with his father supervising the assembly and tuning of the instruments. By 1964, however, Hugo was no longer able to continue, so the company began to rely on part-time bassoonists for tuning and on a group of prominent American bassoonists and repair technicians for technical guidance.

During the 1960s the company began hiring competent, technically skilled people to make instruments and to train other employees in developing the crafts that Fox needed for quality double reed instrument manufacturing. This investment allowed the company to survive the death of Hugo Fox in 1969, to introduce a contrabassoon in 1970, and create the "Renard" line bassoons in 1971. It also allowed the company to expand into oboe manufacturing in 1974 with the introduction of the Renard 330 and to survive a fire that destroyed the reed making equipment and a large portion of the manufacturing space.

This technical and "people" development process continues to this day and has resulted in the introduction of four models of English horns in 1999, significant improvements in the acoustics and workmanship of all Fox professional oboes, and further strides in the development of the professional bassoon.

Throughout its history, Fox has sought to find and develop technical expertise and has been receptive to modifying its instruments to suit the needs and tastes of its customers. It supplies a broad base of bassoonists around the world, and an increasing group of oboists in North America and is becoming recognized as a standard in each field it serves.

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