The only serial number information concerning the dates of manufacture of Schilke instruments is found on the web at Lars Kirmser's Schilke Serial Number List.
This list only goes from 1961 until 1977, starting with serial number 1110. It is extremely helpful and precise for horns of that vintage. If the horn in which you are interested was made after 1977, Schilke will provide you equally precise information if you call and ask them (708/343-8858).
For horns made prior to 1961, the earliest Schilke trumpets, made in 1956 and perhaps early 1957, so far as I have been able to find, had three digit serial numbers. I have communicated wtih the owners of Schilke trumpets with serial numbers 207 and 208, both made in 1956. At some point shortly thereafter, when production increased, the numbering system changed. The serial number then became the date the horn was plated. For example, the vintage Schilke featured on this site bears the number 2358, however that does not mean the horn was made between horns numbered 2357 and 2359, it means that the horn was plated on February 3, 1958.
In 1961, the current serial number system started at with number 1110, leading me to speculate that the company's production up to that point was 1109 horns.
Here are, however, some quick and dirty rules of thumb for determining the date of manufacturing from Schilke serial numbers. You can accurately extrapolate within a year or two from these rather elegant guidelines.
1000 to 4000 = 1960s
4000 to 10000 = 1970s
10000 to 20000 = 1980s
30000 to 43000 = 1990s
44000 forward = 2000
Serial number 40,000 was made during the company's 40th year, 1996, and that since production is between 1000 and 1200 a year, more recent horns (i.e., horns made after 30XXX) can be estimated from that benchmark.
The 20XXX serial numbers are out of order as they include only the Yamaha collaborations, i.e., the M series and the Schilke horns with Yamaha valve casings made between 1972 and 1983.
20000 to 25000 = 1972 - 1979
25000 to 29000 = 1980 - 1983
I have also been trying to establish is data base to further fine tune these generalities. If you have a Schilke instrument, new or used, that you know (from calling Schilke) is made after 1977 or which you purchased new sometime during or after 1978, please e-mail me the date of original sale or manufacture, model number and serial number. When I've reached a critical mass of respondents, I will revise this page to include specifically that information. I will only post part of the serial number and the year of manufacture to protect your privacy and your horn.
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