15 Facts About Adolphe Sax


Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax was a Belgian inventor and musician who invented the saxophone in the early 1840s, patenting it in 1846.


Antoine-Joseph Sax was born on 6 November 1814 in Dinant, in what is Belgium, to Charles-Joseph Sax and his wife Marie-Joseph.


Adolphe Sax began to make his own instruments at an early age, entering two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition at the age of 15.


Adolphe Sax subsequently studied performance on those two instruments as well as voice at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.


Adolphe Sax received serious burns from a gunpowder explosion and once fell onto a hot cast-iron frying pan, burning his side.


Adolphe Sax's first important invention was an improvement in bass clarinet design, which he patented at the age of 24.


Adolphe Sax relocated permanently to Paris in 1842 and began working on a new set of valved bugles.


Adolphe Sax developed the saxotromba family, valved brass instruments with narrower bore than the saxhorns, in 1845, though they survived only briefly.


The advances made by Adolphe Sax were soon followed by the British brass band movement, which exclusively adopted the saxhorn family of instruments.


The period around 1840 saw Adolphe Sax inventing the, an early unsuccessful design of contrabass clarinet.


Adolphe Sax's reputation helped secure him a job teaching at the Paris Conservatory in 1857.


Adolphe Sax continued to make instruments later in life and presided over the new saxophone course at the Paris Conservatory.


Legal troubles involving patents continued for over 20 years, with rival instrument makers attacking the legitimacy of his patents and Adolphe Sax suing them for patent infringement.


Adolphe Sax was driven into bankruptcy three times: in 1852,1873 and 1877.


Adolphe Sax suffered from lip cancer between 1853 and 1858 but made a full recovery.