The concept of the Fox Company began in Hugo Fox's imagination sometime between 1922 and 1949, the years when he was principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He founded Fox Products Corporation in South Whitley, Indiana, during the summer of 1949 and the first bassoon was completed in November 1951. During the first production year, twelve instruments were finished and delivered.
The business included bassoon reed manufacturing, which Mr. Fox had started during the late 1930's. The 1950's saw the addition of oboe reed manufacturing to the product line, as well as continual additions to machines and tools and modest expansion of bassoon manufacturing. The last year of that decade saw the production of 60 instruments, along with 5,000 bassoon reeds and 10,000 oboe reeds.
Mr. Fox's failing health threatened to end the young company as the 50's drew to a close. In the fall of 1960, Hugo's son, Alan, decided to give up his chemical engineering career and take over the family business, with his father supervising the assembly and tuning of the instruments. By 1964, however, the elder Fox was no longer able to continue, so the company began to rely on part-time bassoonists for tuning and on a group of prominent American bassoonists and repairmen for technical guidance.
The company began hiring competent, technically skilled people to make instruments and to train other employees in developing the crafts that were needed for quality double reed instrument manufacturing. This investment allowed the company to survive the death of Hugo Fox in 1969, and to introduce a contrabassoon in 1970 and create the Renard line of instruments in 1971. It also allowed the company to expand into oboe manufacturing in 1974 with the introduction of the Renard 330 and to survive a fire that destroyed the reed making equipment as well as a large portion of the manufacturing space.
The development process continued and resulted in the introduction of four models of English horns at the International Double Reed Society Conference in August of 1999. Accompanying the English horns were significant improvements in the acoustics and workmanship of all Fox professional oboes.
Alan Fox, continuing to manage the firm, is assisted by a strong technical and artistic staff. His daughter Karen, and son-in-law Larry Festa now own major positions in the company and are dedicated to its long term continuation. Larry has completed a four year hands-on apprentice program and now works in the firm. Karen continues with her interests in playing bassoon. Both are attorneys and both serve on the board of directors.
Throughout its history, Fox has sought to acquire and develop technical expertise and has been receptive to modifying its instruments to suit the needs and tastes of its customers. It supplies a broad base of bassoonists around the world, and an increasing group of oboists in North America. It is becoming recognized as a standard in each of the fields it serves, and has the skill and desire to preserve a long-term commitment to double reed musicians.
Quoted from foxproducts.com, used with permission.