Howard Wiseman’s journey to school consisted of walking two miles and catching a train in the rush hour every morning. This was fine apart from the three days on which he had to carry his bassoon! At this point the journey would become a nightmare. As a young teenager the weight of carrying the bassoon and the painful handle constantly digging into his hands seemed an unfair punishment for playing such a lovely instrument. Furthermore, the large traditional bassoon case was never welcomed by other passengers on a packed, busy train.
As a solution to the problem Howard made himself a case! The small tubular case was less than half the volume of any regular case and could be easily slung over the shoulder or worn as a backpack. Problem solved! Shortly after, Howard’s bassoon teacher commissioned Howard to make the same case for him. Being Principal bassoon in the English Chamber orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Robin O’Neill was Howard’s perfect first customer! Before long the “Wiseman” tubular bassoon case had spread throughout the professional circuit in London.
By the time Howard was 17, he’d built cases for Principal bassoonists in the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Paris Opera and a large number of major European orchestras. It all happened because of the bassoon! The very compact design, stylish appearance and superb protection for the instruments was soon noticed by other instrumentalists.
Demand from all other instruments in the woodwind section quickly escalated. As is often the case, someone’s practical solution to a problem, quickly turned into a business.