C.G. Conn, Elkhart, Ind. and Worcestor, Mass.
1879 C.G. Conn "4-in-1" (8XX) This belongs to a collector friend; I did some minor repairs and spot silver plating to areas worn through to brass. This design is the basis for the 1878 Conn Dupont patent, and can be played in four keys: Eb, C, Bb and A. All of the original pigtail crooks and shanks were still with this cornet, so I have photographed it set up for all four keys, in order. Note that the three valve slides are pulled incrementally in addition to the the crook/shank changes. I am very interested in purchasing a "4-in-1" (any condition) for my own collection, in case you have one or know of one which might be available.
1880 C.G. Conn "SOLO Model" Bb/A (1988) In 1880, Conn sold a variety of cornet designs, but their top of the line models were the "4-in-1," "Clear Bore Vocal," and "Solo." Surprisingly, the SOLO (Bb/A) seems to be the least common of the three. I currently know of just one other, and it is just one serial number lower than this example. The Conn arrived in extremely rough condition. I sent it (12/5) off for silver plating -- here is how it looks prepped. Click on the Model Name (above) to see it finished
c1880 C.G. Conn "Clear Bore Vocal" C/Bb/A (2276) I restored this very early Conn, but as you can see from the "before" shots, it didn't need too much – mostly repair to extensive silver wear in the areas where held. The valves seal very well, and it plays very nicely. The "A" extension is missing, but can still be set up in "C" by removing the "ladder" extension on the leadpipe. The cornet was evidently made for ALFRED A. REID -- can anybody shed any light on Mr. Reid? My research has come up empty. before restoration
1880 C.G. Conn "Besson Model" Bb/A (2029) Evidently part of the Perfection First Class line, which included copies of famous European makers' cornets, this seems closest to being a Besson Model, although I'm not positive. It was restored around 25 years ago, and very well done as total restorations go -- replated silver and overhauled valves.
1880 C.G. Conn Eb Cornet (2XXX) This rare, early Conn Eb belongs to a friend, and I am currently restoring it for him. We have no idea if it had a model name. The first pictures show the condition as acquired. Click here to see how it started. Click here to see it all apart . After most of the repair work was done, I sent it off for a valve refit, after which I will replated the bare brass areas, and restored the gold trim as well.
1880 C.G. Conn "Besson Model" Bb(34XX) Only recently identified as one of the "copy model" designs Conn made as early as 1880. They also had "Distin" and "Courtois" models. These were priced sigificantly lower than their proprietary designs. While raw brass, there is evidence of prior silver plating, probably a single layer as opposed to their optional "triple plated" finish of the time. Before restoration
1882 C.G. Conn "Courtois Model Bb/A (3796) As early as 1880, Conn offered a variety of "famous maker copy" designs (see the Conn "Besson Model" below), and this design copied the famous Courtois "Arban" model. These were offered at a considerable cost savings over Conn's proprietary designs (such as the "4-in-1", Solo or Vocal models). This cornet is currently being restored and will be completed shortly. The complete outfit included this nifty C.G. Conn mute, which sounds like a Harmon butr seems to be more open blowing. Before Restoration.
1881 C.G. Conn Bb Cornet (4774) Here's yet another early unknown Conn model, but I believe it’s an early version of the “Ultimatum.” Conn had some models early on that we have yet to associate with specific designs, as no illustrated literature has turned up from the pre-Wonder era -- if you have any early Conn materials that illustrate these or other early models, please contact me. Before restoration
c1883 C.G. Conn "Ultimatum" Bb/A (7013) Several variations of the basic Ultimatum wrap have surfaced, this unrestored cornet being one. The difference here, is a rather ordinary leadpipe and main tuning slide configuration. Mark Metzler recently acquired yet another variation and is currently restoring it.
1883 C.G. Conn C/Bb/A Cornet (80XX) A very early Conn in my collection. Surprisingly, the valves still seal well enough to be a good player. This required a fair amount of dent removal (before repair shots), and it appears to have been replated many years in the past.
1886 Conn Wonder (12,2XX) This is one of the earliest Wonder's I've seen, and is in Bb. Hard to see, but noteworthy, is the John Heald patent thumb trigger water key. Heald worked for Fiske before starting his own company, and Conn bought out Fiske. before restoration
1886 C.G. Conn "Ultimatum" C/Bb/A (12356) The Ultimatum was Conn's standard issue in-between the initial designs (such as the "4-in-1") and the "Wonder" series. This is a late model Ultimatum; they were known to have been made after the introduction of the Wonder in 1886. Note the unusual water collector beneath the valves. The only other instance of this known to me is an instrument in the Shrine Music Museum. Also noteworthy is the engraving which features birdlike faces. I suspect this instrument had gold trim to start which was either polished off, or lost when replated.
1887 C.G. Conn Ultimatum Bb (12360) This is one of the most amazing restorations you will ever see, and was done by my friend Mark Metzler. This gold plated, presentation-engraved cornet was not only trashed, it was missing nearly all of its removable parts, including all three valve pistons, spring towers, stems, buttoms, and all top & bottom valve caps! Mark machined all of the replacements himself. Note also that the paper-thin bell was badly torn to start, and compare to the final product. After Mark made the reproduction valves, they were plated and fit by Anderson Plating, who also did the gold plating. Not only is this cornet beautiful, but I can attest that it is an amazing player as well.
1887 C.G. Conn, Worcester, Mass. "Wonder"(12,5XX) This very early Wonder was built to play in C, Bb, and A at the old Fiske plant in Worcester, and does not include the usual "Elkhart" engraving found on most early Wonders. The restoration included reapplying gold to the details and bell engraving. (before restoration, with side-by-side comparison to a typical early Elkhart/Worcester Wonder)
1887 C.G. Conn Parlor Model now restored (13,XXX) This rare cornet was essentially a “basket case” which I restored over a period of months, with an essential assist from Rich Ita. Here are shots of the horn as it arrived, then the project in-progress and then, nearly completed except for spot silver and gold plating. The title link shows it after restoration.
1887 C.G. Conn - Wonder (Worcestor) 13,5XX
1892 C.G. Conn American Model Orchestra Cornet (24122) This is a fairly rare model in the Conn lineup. It had an extra slide which could be pulled to one of three positions, and the main slide could be replaced by the unusual "C" attachment pictured -- thus it could play in C, Bb or A.
1899 C.G. Conn - Wonder (Worcestor) 54,3XX
1901 C.G. Conn - New York Wonder
C, Bb, A 70,9XX
1903 C.G. Conn - Conn-queror
rare Configuration No. 1 77,7XX
1906 C.G. Conn - Connqueror rare C/Bb/A model 96,2XX (gold plated)
Side-by-side comparison to the usual Bb/A model which is larger
1906 C.G. Conn - Conn-queror (page 1)
(page 2) 94,0XX (gold plated)
1907 C.G. Conn - Perfected Wonder 101,0XX with unusual Bb/A conversion mechanism
1907 Conn "Wonderphone" C/Bb/A number 1 model (103,1XX) This is a really cute little horn, just 11" in length, which plays amazingly well. Considering that Conn only made Wonderphones over the span of a few years, I'm surprised at all the different variations that exist. There were two main models, then many sub-models.
1907 C.G. Conn - Conn-queror 105,7XX
1908 C.G. Conn Wonderphone 106,0XX (version 1)
1908 C.G. Conn Wonderphone 107,9XX (version 2, gold plated)
1909 Conn Wonderphone (115,2XX) This was the fourth Wonderphone I acquired -- all four different in one respect or another, which is interesting cosidering how very few Wonderphones were made by Conn. This is also one of the highest serial numbered Wonderphones yet found. It was in very nice shape as found and only needed repairs to the main tuning slide to look like this.
1914 C.G. Conn - New Wonder (Victor) 137,2XX
Original "Gurarantee Bond" Certificate Original Care Booklet with specs, finish & price info – front & back cover / inside pages
1917 Conn "New Wonder Vocal" C/Bb/A (146,6XX) This variation of the New Wonder had a rotary valve in place of the micro-tuner, which allowed switching from C to Bb. By pulling various slides, it could be brought down to A as well. An additional set of slides allowed playing in either high or low pitch.
1918 C.G. Conn - New Wonder Victor Bb/A 165,7XX
Additional shots of the bell engraving Shots of this project in progress This cornet has extensive engraving by Conn's master engraver, Julius Stenberg which extends the full length of the bell, as well as inside the bell.
Unique 1921 Conn Bb Cornet Right Side Bell Engraving (Satan) Bell Engraving (Eve) Engraving (serpent) (Robb Stewart Collection) Cornet in Bb, made by C.G. Conn Ltd., Elkhart, Ind. in 1921. Burnished gold plated. The exact model is unknown, but it is obviously derivative of the Victor New Wonder small bore cornet. My assumption is that this cornet was custom built and engraved to the customer's order. It differs from the Victor in that it is lacking the "opera glass" tuning wheel on the main tuning slide and the stop rod assembly on the A slide. These were never installed on this cornet. The engraving is mostly what makes this cornet special. Above the signature is a nude woman dancing on a swan. On either side are griffins and down below is Mephistopheles himself. All of this, of course is intertwined with the usual scrolls and flowers. Engraved below it all, next to the bell rim is "A. Liberati, Virtuoso". It is not known for sure whether this cornet was built for Liberati, himself, or an admirer. Alessandro Liberati is one of the most famous cornet soloists of all time, which would make this a very important cornet, if his ownership could be proved.
1930 C.G. Conn 26 "Director" (279,8XX) This is the earliest 26A I've seen so far, and is gold plated with extensive art deco engraving all the way around the bell and down its full length. This model had slightly "taller" proportions than the mid-30's version. Unfortunately, it was poorly repaired & resoldered at some point in its life. I just finished the repairs, and it turned out well. before restoration
1935 C.G. Conn - 40A Vocabell (page 1)
(page 2 - details) 303,6XX
1936 C.G. Conn 26A "Director" (309,8XX) Most people don't know that prior to World War 2, the Director cornet was actually a pro model which cost the same as the famed 80A Victor. First produced around 1930, the large bore 26A had a micro tuning adjustment like the Victor, but in a different location. Considering the sheer number of instruments produced by Conn during the 1930's, these are very rare. before restoration
1937 C.G. Conn - 26A Director (page 1) 320,3XX
1946 C.G. Conn 80A Victor 360,8XX
1947 C.G. Conn - 12A Coprion371,4XX
1962 C.G. Conn 9A Victor Coprion (short model) 954,4XX
1966 Conn 5A "Victor" short model (K000XX) The 5A was a seldom-seen short model cornet that has nothing in common with the famous 80A Victor. In fact, the design is the same as the first model Wonderphone from around 1907 (see above). Additionally, this example is satin silver with gold bell wash -- something Conn rarely did in the 60's.
1967 C.G. Conn - 38A Connstellation (short) K870XX
Conn Wonder Advertisements - 1890s
Bb/A Model C/Bb/A Model
Conn Cornets - 1910 period photo postcards
Conn Factory - 1912 period photo postcard (interior)
Conn Factory - 1933 period postcard (aerial view)