100 Years at jj Babbitt Co. Inc.
When Jesse James Babbitt finished construction on his first mouthpiece inside his garage in 1919, one would imagine he never envisioned that, one hundred years later, his company would be a leader in the creation of mouthpieces for clarinets and saxophones.
Now on its third generation and preparing to transition to the fourth, this family-owned company is a staple in both the band instrument capital of the world, Elkhart, Indiana, and the music products industry. Today, jj Babbitt Company, Inc. is one of the oldest manufactures of mouthpieces still in business and sets the standard of craftsmanship throughout the industry.
Jesse James Babbitt learned his skill for the craftsmanship of mouthpieces at Buescher Band Instruments in Elkhart, Indiana and eventually decided to go into business for himself with the help of his brother, Rollie Babbitt. Babbitt finally handed the reigns of the company over to his nephew, Eugene (Bud) Reglein who joined jj Babbitt in 1939 and stayed on board until his passing in 2005. William (Bill) Reglein, the great-nephew of Jesse, is currently at the helm of jj Babbitt. Bill began his career with jj Babbitt making local deliveries, eventually gaining experience at every manufacturing station along the way before he took over the company in 1999. Since then, Bill has not only been instrumental in the establishment of NAMM’s Museum of Making Music, acting as one of the first sponsors of Gallery Three, and has ensured that the next generation, his grandson, Dominic Massaro, follow in his footstep of learning the craft before taking over the company.
Since the inception of NAMM’s Oral History Program multiple decedents of Babbitt have sat down with Music Historian, Dan Del Fiorentino, to document the history of the company including Bud and Bill Reglein as well as Dominic Massaro. In addition to these family members, beloved long-time employees such as Abe Wollam, Jim Green and Rocky Giglio have provided their perspective on the importance of jj Babbitt throughout the industry. The collection of interviews can be found at https://www.namm.org/category/term/jj-babbitt.