Buescher introduced the Custom-Built model line in the mid ’30s and marketed the horns as premium versions of the base-line Aristocrat model horns. This cornet is engraved “Aristocrat Custom Built”, which is how Buescher characterized the new line in 1935. However, when Buescher introduced new versions of the Custom-Built horns in 1939, Buescher simply referred to them as “Custom Built” models. The model 265 “Aristocrat Custom Built” cornet was Buescher’s top of the line cornet model from the mid-1930s until 1939. At that point, the new Model 225 “400” model cornet became the top horn.
After 1939 Buescher supposedly replaced the 265 with the Model 266 Custom Built cornet, which was basically a Model 265 with a different valve block, wrap, and cosmetics that looked something like those found on the new 400 horns. However, the model 266 didn’t last long. They may have been too expensive to manufacture at the same time as the 400 horns; Buescher simply dropped production of them and kept making the Model 265 as their Custom-Built model. They may not have ever stopped making the 265, even as they made the model 266.
Ferdinand August “Gus” Buescher (1861-1937) began his career making instruments with the C.G. Conn Company in 1876. In late 1894, Buescher started his firm, in partnership with clothing merchant John L. Collins and salesman Harry L. Long, and formed the Buescher Manufacturing Company in Elkhart. By 1904, the company name was changed to the Buescher Band Instrument Company.