My friend, Al, loaned me his fine SML, which was his first clarinet. SML stands for the maker more widely known for making oboes, Strasser, Marigaux and Lemaire. (And Lemaire probably should not to be confused with the stencil brand Le Maire. See below.)
Serial: 80x8 or 8958. The second number could either be a 0 or 9. The 8 almost looks like an S. The third number looks smaller than the other three on both sections. Other than not stamping the serial number clearly, this is a very nicely made clarinet. All 4 joints are stamped STRASSER, then below a banner, SML, PARIS, FRANCE.
The key work looks like Buffet key work except for the left pinkie keys not being pin in hole type.
The right hand rings are especially comfortable and seem a bit larger than normal. The springs are blunt, not sharp like Buffets.
Bore: 15mm at top of left keyed joint,
14.8 at the bottom of the same.
This clarinet plays nicely, and has good tone, but the intonation will be problematic.
I would rate this as a very nice instrument for a beginning to intermediate Jr High student.
Information from Jack Kissinger at woodwind.org, in the thread about French stencil clarinets:
Le Maire is probably an error on the list. It probably should be Lemaire, in which case it is not a stencil but rather the intermediate model made by SML, a woodwind company founded in Paris in 1934 by three partners, Strasser, Marigaux and Lemaire. This company is best known, nowadays, for Marigaux oboes and english horns but, for many years they also made clarinets and saxophones. SML purchased the Malerne factory in 1975. The presence of "Le Maire" on the list suggests that not all of the instruments on the list are necessarily stencils, some were merely imports. (The presence of Noblet on this list further supports this argument.) Googling will lead you to more historical information (key words to include are marigaux sml malerne factory cicetti nora post in different combinations).More recently from Modernicus at woodwind.org.
I had the impression that Le Maire as two words was stencil brand with no
Below: Batch number under the G# key.
Here is information quoted from woodwind.org. Thanks Annette!
Information from a Milton in Australia: Serial #
710 C or 710 G was made 1965 or somewhat earlier. It seems that SML had difficulty getting all serial numbers stamped clearly!