Robert Paxman (1929-2011)
Robert (Bob) Paxman, MBE transformed Paxman Music Instruments from a maker of various instruments to one devoted to horns.
Bob's father had established Paxman Musical Instruments – as the company is still known – as a maker of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments in 1919. Bob began working there when he was just 14 years old.
It was Bob Paxman’s partnership with an Australian horn player, Richard Merewether, that was to transform the company into one specializing in horns. Merewether arrived in England in 1950 with ideas about horn design – especially f-alto and F/f-alto horns. Paxman began producing instruments in line with Merewether’s philosophy, and the two men collaborated closely until Merewether died in 1985 – with around 50 designs to their joint credit.
Bob became Managing Director of the company in 1961. He introduced a number of important improvements to horn design, including the dual-bore system for full double horns, the dual bore system for double descant horns, triple bore horns, and lighter weight titanium valves. In 1993 Bob was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and received his award from the Queen – the citation said the award was “in recognition of his services to the musical instrument industry.”
A modest and private man with a quiet, dry wit, Bob remained actively involved in horn design and was constantly looking to make design improvements. As recently as November 2010 – some time after his retirement as Managing Director - Bob was awarded a life time achievement award from the Musical Industries Association.