The company’s fate is now undetermined. Alex Laubin served as office manager and helped with some aspects of production but did not learn the full process. He often urged his father to modernize their operation — to little avail.

“No one sits down anymore and files out keys,” Meredith Laubin said. “No one turns out one oboe joint at a time. This is all automated now, like how robots make cars. But Paul wasn’t endorsing any of these things. To him, there was no cheating the family recipe.”

Mr. Laubin knew, however, that the old ways would come to an end. He was finding it harder to ignore the realities of being an Old World artisan in the modern era.

“Paul got to have one part of his dream, which was to be able to work with his son,” Ms. Laubin said. “But the other part of his dream, knowing that his work would continue on in the way he did things, he knew that wasn’t going to happen.”

Still, he hewed to tradition to the end. On his work table the day he died lay the beginnings of Laubin oboe No. 2,600.

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