Everett "Vic" Firth is an American musician and the founder of Vic Firth Company (formerly Vic Firth, Inc.), a company that makes percussion sticks and mallets.
Founded in 1963 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the company bills itself as the world's largest manufacturer of drum sticks and mallets, which are made in Newport, Maine In 2010, the company merged with Avedis Zildjian Company; officials said at the time that the companies would continue to run independently.
Vic Firth was born June 2, 1930, in Winchester, Massachusetts. He was raised in Maine by parents Everett E. and Rosemary Firth. Son of a successful trumpet player, he started learning the cornet at age four, turning later to percussion, trombone, clarinet, piano, and music arrangement. When he reached high school, he was a full-time percussionist, and created an 18-piece band at age 16. He played a variety of percussion instruments such as vibraphone, timpani and the drum set.
Vic Firth Company
The company began when Firth, who had been performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 12 years, was asked to perform pieces which he felt required a higher-quality drumstick than those that were currently being manufactured. Firth decided to design a set of his own sticks.
Firth hand-whittled the first sticks himself from bulkier sticks and sent these prototypes to a wood turner in Montreal. The two prototypes that he sent would become the SD1 and SD2, the first two models of sticks manufactured by Vic Firth, Inc. Firth said, "It came out of necessity, not of imagination or my ability to start a company." Although the sticks were initially intended for Firth's personal use, they gained popularity among his students and were eventually carried by retailers.
As of 2012, the company offered about 300 products, and made 12 million sticks a year. Current products also include a line of pepper mills, salt grinders, and rolling pins sold under the Vic Firth Gourmet brand.