Has anyone heard of William Tottle???

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by haneyj, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. haneyj

    haneyj New Friend

    Dec 31, 2008
    William Tottle was man who worked on trumpet mouth pieces in the Boston Area. I found out via some research that I have adopted his great-grand daughter. She is also very musical. I am looking for any information I can about this man. I don't know too much about her family and it would mean a great deal to me if I could round up some newspaper clippings or articles or just anything anyone may have.

    Thank you.
  2. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    Boston, MA
  3. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    His son Nick, used to be my roommate. I used to see him around Harvard Square now and then, but I haven't seen him in a few years. Last time I talked to him, his brother had past several years before (his brother had taken the business after Bill, but ran it into the ground...he had a drug problem), and his mother had died a couple of years before. I wouldn't know how to contact him and I don't know who else in the family is around or how to talk to them either.

    Come to think of it, I don't think Nick's last name was Tottle. Tottle may been an uncle or something.....I'm not sure.

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    He also did a fair amount of work on Armondo Ghitallas (solo tpt Boston Symphony) horns. Mundi was VERY impressed with his work!
  5. cedarhills

    cedarhills New Friend

    Aug 6, 2009
    I never met William Tottle, but have recently come upon the remains of one his nephew's old work shops with mouthpieces, some records, and other parts. It was his nephew that took over his business from what I understand and like another poster stated, ran it into the ground. I will see if anything that is still there (papers, articles etc) is salvageable and if the person who has the materials in her posession knows anything that might help you. The woman whose house the materials are in used to date the nephew. Also, will check with a fellow player who I believe knew William years ago. Hope I can help. Joan
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Julie!

    Tottle is the stuff of legends, and your find could be valuable to trumpeters worldwide--keep us posted!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
  7. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    I was talking to Bob Osmun the other day, comparing notes on Tottle...turns out Nick was his nephew. Nick and his brother (whose name escapes me) did take over the business. The brother eventually sold it off to somebody. I saw Nick the other day and he told me his brother died a few years ago...

  8. cedarhills

    cedarhills New Friend

    Aug 6, 2009
    The following is copied verbatim from a newsletter entitled The Mouthpiece - Volume I Number 2 - Fall 1984 - The newsletter was published by OSMUN BRASS INSTRUMENTS-438 Common Street- Belmont (Boston) Mass 02187

    "It is with sadness that we report the passing of the firm of Tottle and Son. Poor health combined with declining business has forced Bill Mazocca, the nephew of the late Bill Tottle, to close the doors of his shop on Hemenway St., thus ending an era of the music instrument business that began in 1931.

    The firm of Tottle and Son began in the midst of the Great Depression. WM. Tottle, Sr., a German immigrant, was laid off in 1931 from his job as head of the brass instrument department of the Vega Co. He then established the firm of Tottle, later to be called Tottle and Son, on Columbus Ave. in what is now the South End. They were repairers and retailers of wind instruments and accordians.

    When Tottle Sr. retired, Bill Tottle Jr., the one we knew as "the old man" took over the business and moved it from Columbus to Huntington Ave. In 1963, Bill moved again, this time to the shop on St. Botolph St. It was in this shop that I first him and where he worked until his death.

    I worked for and with Bill Tottle off and on from 1960 until 1975. He was a consumate craftsman with an incredibly fertile and inventive mind. His specialty was trumpet customizing: he developed the original bell tuning instruments. He was also a fine mouthpiece maker. Bill was a kind, generous, and very funny man who is missed by all who knew him.

    After Bill Tottle's death in 1978, his nephew, Bill Mazocca, took over his business. An accomplished machinist and craftsman in his own right, Bill moved the emphasis of the business from repairing to the manufacturing of a line of mouthpieces. The medical complications of a serious motorcycle accident combined with the difficulty of making a living from custom mouthpieces finally resulted in October in the demise of Tottle and Son.

    The former customers, associates, competitors and friends must mourn the loss of a valued member of Boston's musical fraternity and wish Bill Mazocca all good luck in future enterprises."

    As an aside - all rights and interests were sold to Osmun Brass Instruments according to the legal papers I found when the business was closed. Receipts, however, show Mazocca continued to do business under the Tottle name until as late as 1988.
  9. rspargo

    rspargo New Friend

    Jul 15, 2009
    Rhode Island
    Bill Tottle made two baroque trumpet mpcs for me in the 60s. He was a marvelous person and a true artist in his craft.
  10. azuka

    azuka New Friend

    Oct 31, 2009
    Adding to the mystique today...... I was photographing a batch of various mouthpieces to get them ready for auction on ebay. Trying to clear out stuff I'm not using. I found a clarinet mouthpiece that is marked, 'Tottle & Son' and below that 'Boston, Mass.' I can't help but wonder if he was gifted in woodwind mouthpiece design in addition to brass mouthpieces. So I suppose I should test out this thing.

    Steve Grover

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