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Jim Burns was an affable (if eccentric) personality whose forté was guitar design and technology.Alas, his strengths did not extend to business and financial management, and by ’65 his company was deeply in debt to suppliers and creditors.Several generations of the Wulsin family continued to run the company.The piano building thrived and Baldwin became the first American piano company to win the Grand Prix Award at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Louis Exposition in 1904 and London’s Anglo-American Exposition in 1914.In the early ’70s he became involved with the Hayman brand, and later in the decade (when the Baldwin fiasco was long over), resuscitated the Burns name on some interesting new designs, including the Flyte and the Scorpion.Burns passed away in ’98, revered as one of England’s great guitarmakers.
Since most of Burns’ guitars ended up in the Baldwin line, there’s no need to go into them at length.
In the late ’50s he was part of Burns-Weill, making some of the earliest production guitars in England.
In ’60 he founded his own company, Ormston Burns Ltd., which began selling guitars branded “Burns London.” Among his most endearing guitar designs were the pointy, horned Bison and a guitar made for Hank Marvin, England’s answer to the Ventures.
The baby boom showed no signs of letting up and “Boomers” were hitting high adolescence – prime guitar playing years.
Thus, guitars were blessed with the Midas touch, veritable gold mines guaranteed to swell the bottom line as large corporations sought to diversify.