Monday, August 18, 2014

Adolphe Sax, business owner

Adolphe Sax (at left, playing horn) did so much more than invent the saxophone. He invented dozens of instruments, including horns with a dozen bells. He founded the factory that made instruments for buyers worldwide (the letter below is addressed to M. Selmer, of the US's Selmer instrument company). It was fun to discover him at the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels earlier this summer, a place I never expected to find a corporate history on display.

In fact, Sax did so well that people sued him for patent infringement, to the point where he twice declared bankruptcy. Today, who can say which party was right? 

What I like best is that Sax, who lived from 1814 to 1894, called himself a "fabricant inventeur," or maker-inventor. If that description fits your organization's CEO, it's a good one to highlight in your corporate storytelling.