Note from Nophachai:
Many workshops/factories of French's woodwind makers in 19th c. and 20th C. were in La Couture, including the founding brothers of the Martin Freres who were born and established their workshop also in La Couture. So I would guess that their instruments during the first half of 20th c. were probably made there as well.
This information was shared on 2012-06-09 at woodwind.org by DaveMoyer:
Martin Freres was founded sometime around 1840 in France by the Martin brothers. All three founding brothers died before the end of the century, but the company lived on and manufactured a lot of student-edition woodwinds near the beggining of the 20th century. The LaMonte models are popular examples of these. Most of the Martin instruments you'll see on eBay and such are student models... they were specifically designed to be cheap and so they suffer from poor playability and poor sound quality compared to a lot of other brands. That's why they are typically sold for cheap online these days. However, the Bb clarinet model 1740 "De Luxe" was a professional model. Typically produced sometime around 1910-1925 (-ish) they were far superior to the student models. I have one myself, still with the original leatherbound wood and brass case. I've seen a few online articles by people who have played on them and we all agree that the sound quality is quite good if you have the right mouthpiece and ligature to go with it... but the keys suffer from some little technical issues. The key setup is a bit harder to get used to compared to other models, and they like to stick sometimes.
The Martin Freres (Martin Brothers) Company was established circa 1840 in the city of La Couture France by (Fracois) Jean-Baptiste (Born 1817, Dec 1877), Claude Eugene (Born 1819, Dec 1874) & Felix (Born 1821, Dec 1896) MARTIN (surname).
These fine craftsmen hand-manufactured flutes and clarinets from ~1840 until their deaths.
In the late 1890′s, the Thibouville family of Paris took the baton and continued the Martin Freres tradition until ~1927.
In the 1930′s, a team of French & American businessmen revived the company and licensed the Martin Freres name to various woodwind manufacturers worldwide to produce student and intermediate woodwinds until the late 1960′s.
Today, a new generation of engineers & craftsmen are keeping the Martin brother’s dream alive. With great honor and a deep respect for the work of its founding fathers, today’s Martin Freres woodwind-makers carry on that fine family tradition of excellence.
1950 Martin Frères print ad
Martin Freres 20th Century Logo
Martin Freres A PARIS
Martin Freres Company Today