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Founded by HN White Company's Henderson White in 1894 after developing his first trombone with the help of Thomas King, a local trombonist, the result was unlike any other. The first King trombone had an entirely different bell, bore, and mouthpipe designs, which was favoured by musicians for its smoother and lighter slide, the first of its kind. Edna White, took over the company following her husband's death in 1940, and became the first female executive officer (during that era, males dominated the music industry) and under her leadership, the company was contracted by the government for two major projects, making and assembling radar units and proximity fuses that were used in factories.

From its initial days of manufacturing trombone, the company expanded to brass, then stringed instruments – with the King 3B trombone as the top-selling jazz trombone in the market since it was introduced in 1951. At present, the company became a division of United Musical Instruments (UMI) and the products are manufactured by Conn-Selmer, Inc.

For decades, the brand has been used by legends in the music industry, including Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, and Charlie "The Bird" Parker.

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