About Us

Alfred Laubin built his first oboe in 1931, as an experiment – just to see if he could.  He used a hand-held drill with a brace to rough out the bore, and melted down his wife’s silverware to make the keys.  It was a qualified success, but he scrapped it, and began making careful improvements to the design.  After a few years, he was able to make an oboe which met the demands of his own playing career.  The excellent intonation and mechanical reliability of his instruments began to impress other oboists, and he soon accumulated a modest wait list of orders.

By the mid-1950’s, Alfred’s son Paul had joined the business, and they were producing about ten instruments per year, including some English horns.  In 1958, Alfred made a deal to move his oboe shop into the Penzel-Mueller factory in Long Island City, allowing him to make use of their machines and workers.  This led to a dramatic increase in production, up to about 100 instruments per year by the mid-60’s.

In 1968, Alfred moved the shop out of Penzel-Mueller and into its own, smaller space in Elmsford, New York.  Working with him at this time were Paul, Virgilio Roman, Robert Chauvet, and Bill Glover.  David Teitelbaum joined the company in 1973.  With fewer workers, production was lower, around 40 or 50 instruments per year, but quality remained high.

Alfred’s health declined rapidly in 1976, and he died in September of that year.  Despite this difficult loss, Paul and company persevered, continuing to make about 35 to 40 instruments per year.  Mr. Chauvet and Mr. Glover both left the company in the late 70’s.  In 1978, Paul began installing an ebonite liner in the top joint of every oboe, preventing cracks and making the instruments last longer.  Several of the larger oboe makers would soon follow suit.

Through the 1980’s, Paul, David, and Virgilio produced about 35 or 40 instruments per year, while Paul’s wife Meredith managed customer service and bookkeeping.  Around 1982, Paul moved the shop from Elmsford to Peekskill, occupying two different spaces above auto dealerships on Crompond Road.  David Woolsey joined the company for some of this time.

In 1988, the company moved to its present location at 638 Central Avenue, on the second floor of a renovated old grain mill.  John Skelton joined the company in 1994, learning key-making from Virgilio.  Around 1999 to 2001, Virgilio transitioned into a part-time role and then retired.  At the same time, Meredith learned that her kidney disease had progressed, and stopped working in 2001 to go on dialysis.  The shop continued to turn out about 22 instruments per year.

Paul’s son Alex joined the company in 2003, filling Meredith’s former role as office manager, while also doing various production tasks.  John left the company the following year to become a school teacher, and Paul took over key-making.  A series of part-time employees worked for the company during this time: Phil Terrano, Seth Gallagher, and current employee Stephen Gara.  Production from 2004 to 2015 averaged about 15 instruments per year.

In 2016, long-time finisher and repairman David left the company to open his own repair shop.

We currently produce only about ten instruments per year.  In spite of our small production, our instruments continue to be played by a disproportionate number of highly talented and accomplished musicians in well-known orchestras and ensembles.