Our history is very much tied to our namesake, Verne Q. Powell. A jeweler by trade, Powell fashioned himself a flute in 1910 from whatever Silver he could get his hands on, including Silver Dollars, watch casings, and spoons. This incredible feat of metal working landed him a job at another flute company in Boston. He worked there until 1926, leaving to create his own company. His goal was to be able to produce the world’s finest French flutes. Creating his own company gave him the freedom to devote himself to detail and artistry.
The instruments were immediately recognized as the very best a flutist could play and endorsements flowed in from flutists around the globe. In 1928, he completed his first all 14K Gold flute; soon piccolos and alto flutes were added. By 1930 the brand had representation in the Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, and New York Orchestras. There were flutes which had a life of their own; #365 the “World’s Fair” Platinum flute of William Kincaid, #900 the only flute ever made entirely of 14K White Gold, #1142 the “Signature” Flute.
Over the decades, innovation became a hallmark of the Powell company. The first company to commercially make the Cooper Scale, the first company to mix Silver and Gold with the Aurumite Flute, the first to make 19.5K Rose Gold.
The 2100 and 3100 series flutes were developed in the early 90’s, ultimately leading to the debut to today’s Conservatory flutes. The first Conservatory flute was unveiled in 2002 to celebrate the company’s 75th Anniversary, alongside another new instrument, the Powell Sonaré flute. A year later the Signature Flute was launched. 2005 and 2006 saw brand new headjoint styles: the Soloist and the Venti. In 2007 Powell patented a new method for extruding tone holes which is still being used today. The only handmade flute to be played in Space, NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman brought her Powell flute on the International Space Station in 2011.
In 2016 Verne Q. Powell Flutes, Inc. was purchased by Buffet Crampon, joining nine other brands of wind instruments to complete the largest group of wind instrument manufacturers in the world.
2017 marks the 90th Anniversary of this characteristically American flute making company. Started in 1927 by Verne Q. Powell himself, the past 90 years have been marked by innovation, modernization, and a dedication to artistry.