In 1931, William Teasdale Armstrong, a highly respected craftsman and a C.G. Conn shop foreman, founded his small flute repair shop in Elkhart, Indiana. Word of his skill and uncompromising commitment to quality quickly spread, and it wasn’t long before he was asked to manufacture instruments for professional musicians.
The proud Armstrong heritage passed on to son Edward, who apprenticed under his father and shared his father’s attention to detail regarding quality. Edward’s concern for quality went well beyond the crafting of professional level instruments. He recognized a need to provide quality instruments to a rapidly growing number of students and community musicians.
In the 1970s, Armstrong developed a “new” flute scale in conjunction with Albert Cooper. Prior to this new scale, flute makers would correct the tuning of A=435 commonly found on flutes by cutting the end of the headjoint to bring pitch up to A=440. While this served to correct the pitch in the center registers, all other octaves did not play in tune. Armstrong and Cooper collaborated together to create a whole new flute with improved performance. Changes would include a tapered headjoint, alterations to dimension of tone holes and tone hole placement. This redesigned flute would become today’s 102, 103, and 104 model flute platforms.
In 1984, the Armstrong woodwind company was sold to King Musical Instruments, which later merged with C.G. Conn in 1985 to form United Musical Instruments (UMI). UMI later merged with the Selmer Company in 2002 and created Conn-Selmer, Inc.