U.S. Makers (including imports)
1928 Vincent Bach - Mercury Short Model (page 1) (page 2)
—(same cornet restored page 3) 1
902 Buescher C/Bb/A 34XX
Restoration Process for this cornet
1905 Buescher Bb/A 59XX
Details of airpath and slide limit rod arrangement
Restoration process for this cornet
1914 Buescher - "The Buescher" 12,8XX
possibly a copy of the Conn "Wonderphone"
1935 Buescher "Maestro" (272963) Buescher was well-known for their saxophones, yet their cornets and trumpets seem to be very high quality. Here's one from the height of the art deco era, with some nifty gold inlaid engraving on the bell. This one required a lot more work to restore than I bargained for. The unique finger hook had to be duplicated, and the leadpipe had to be replaced among other things. Before restoration
Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory
1878 Boston Bb Cornet (Robb Stewart Collection) Cornet in Bb, made by the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory in about 1878. This rotary valve Boston 3 Star cornet is very similar to, but predates the design that was patented in 1879. It's bore measures .484", unlike the vast majority of 3 Stars that measure .472". The Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory was founded in 1869 by E.G. Wright, Henry Esbach, Louis Hartmann and members of the Graves family. The firm was one of the most highly regarded brass makers of the time and continued in business until about 1929.
Boston "1879 Patent" Model, C & Bb (no serial) This is a really unusual instrument from the famous Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory which combines rotary valves with conventionally positioned finger buttons. This was one of the most awful "basket case" restorations I've ever attempted, and I was only able to take it so far. Several parts, including slide crooks, tuning slide, and some of the rotary valve parts were simply missing. Enter expert Robb Stewart, who manufactured reproductions which are virtually indistinguishable from original. Be sure to check out the "before shots" on this one (and note the components which are missing to start with), as well as the comparison between this cornet and one from Robb's collection made a just a short time earlier, but with significant and interesting variations in the wrap. Before restoration 1 Before restoration 2 Comparison between 1878 and 1879 models
c1875 Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory, "Band Size" Bb rotary, side action (no serial)
before restoration / during restoration
1904 Boston Musical Instrument Company - NE Plus Ultra Three-Star 16,6XX
c1900 Frederick Busch (1458) Frederick Busch was a small maker located in New York City. He made cornets in several different popular "wraps" of the day. This one is a virtual copy of the Besson. The original bit receiver and leadpipe were cut off at the second valve and replaced with a trumpet receiver. I am presently restoring this cornet.
1918 E.A. Couturier Bb/A Cornet (gold) 11XX (rare, early Elkhart-made example)
–1925 E.A. Couturier Eb Cornet 5,6XX (unrestored)
photos of same cornet after restoration & gold plating
(restoration by Rich Ita's Brass Instrument Workshop. Collection of Rich Ita)
Henry Distin, Philadelphia and Williamsport, Penn.
1882 Henry Distin, Philadelphia (10X) This is a very early Distin, and has beautiful extensive engraving on nearly all surfaces.
1884 Distin Echo Bell Cornet Right Side Bell (Robb Stewart Collection, since traded) Cornet in Bb, with echo bell, made by Henry Distin in New York in about 1884. The second, echo bell was put into play by depressing the 4th valve. It is a muted bell about half way between a straight mute and a Harmon wa-wa mute. Henry Distin, son of the famous John Distin, started making brass instruments in the 1850's after successfully touring Europe with the family quintet and importing French instrument to England. He sold out to Boosey & Co. and moved to New York in about 1878. He was soon making brass instruments again, and continued in Philadelphia and then Williamsport, PA until 1909. Distin was considered one of the best U.S. makers. He surpassed C.G. Conn in quality, but never in quantity.
1890 Distin Eb Cornet Right Side Bell Detail (Robb Stewart Collection) Eb cornet Made by Henry Distin, Williamsport, PA, in about 1890. Superior model, fully engraved with gold trim. This is another excellent playing high quality instrument by Distin with a fancy finish.
1894 Henry Distin - Superior Highest Grade After dentwork & polishing 123XX (valves) 113XX (bell)
1894 Henry Distin (Williamsport, PA) Superior Highest Grade After dentwork & polishing 123XX (valves) 11360 (bell)
1903 Henry Distin "Highest Grade" Cornet (17692/19751) This nice Williamsport, PA example is a copy of the Besson Desideratum. While it arrived in decent enough shape, it still took 14 hours in my shop to bring it back to the appearance shown. It also has the original outfit (not shown) -- Distin cases of the day remind me of briefcases. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have withstood the years too well and most look shabby. But a shabby original case is always better than no case at all.
1915 Elkhart Musical Instrument Co. - Triumph 783
1875 Fiske Bb (no serial number) Like the Boston 1879 Patent model, this cornet has rotary valves actuated by buttons, but this time, the buttons are atop pushrods which move through spring towers located in the same position as conventional piston valves. The makes for a very unusual appearance. Fiske made beautiful horns, and was eventually bought out by Conn, becoming their "Worcester" manufacturing facility. This beautiful example is missing the top and bottom covers for the spring towers which will be reproduced by Robb Stewart in the coming months. Happily the button/pushrod assemblies are still present. It also has the original mouthpiece, Bb shank and lyre, a bit unusual.
c1900 P. Frederick, Philadelphia (2230) This is a nice quality copy of the Besson design. Frederick trained under Lehnert.
1973 Getzen Eterna EC735 This was my gig horn for several years. The 800 series Eterna cornet is one of the most consistently good playing cornets of the past 40+ years, with especiall fast valves, true cornet tone, and open-blowing. They are very popular in traditional jazz circles.
1845 Graves Keyed Bugle Left Bell Detail Mouthpiece (Robb Stewart Collection) Keyed bugle in Bb with seven keys, made by Graves and CO., Winchester, New Hampshire, in about 1845. Graves was the first important maker of brass instruments in the U.S., starting out with woodwinds in the 1820's, and then adding English brass instrument maker James Keat to the firm in the late 1830's. By the early 1840's, they were producing keyed bugles, valved and natural trumpets, post horns, French horns, alto and tenor valved instruments known as trombacellos, ophicleides, slide trombones and tubas. Valve types included Stoelzel, Berliner, twin piston and Payne rotary valves. Standard rotary valves were made after they moved to Boston in 1851. This instrument has survived in quite good condition, although it has been restored and the largest key, which was missing, was replaced. It is not known if the crook and mouthpiece were made by Graves, but are certainly from the period and were found with the instrument by an antique dealer. Bb keyed bugles by Graves are actually more rare than those in Eb, because the Eb was their specialty, being the solo instrument in the American bands of the 1840's and 1850's. My guess is that there are only twenty or less Graves Bb keyed bugles in existence.
c1860 Graves & Co., Boston, Eb rotary -- two bells. I originally acquired this beautiful Graves Eb rotary cornet with the forward-directed bell -- but this is removable, by virtue of two thumb screws and a threaded collar on the bell stem. Against all reasonable odds, restoration expert Robb Stewart miraculously found an original "OTS" (over the shoulder) bell for this very instrument (with identical engraving), but alas, it has been broken off halfway down the flare. Robb made a reproduction bell crook, and grafted this to the original bell, and the seam is barely discernable. He also had to make the associated mounting brackets, finger hook and lyre holder. The quality if phenomenal! I'll take more pictures soon.
1875c Hall & Quimby (Boston) Bb/A Rotary (no serial) This cornet was made in Boston, during the immediate post-Civil War period, and is constructed entirely of nickel-silver, which was referred to as "German Silver" in catalogs of the period. before restoration
John Heald, Springfield, Mass.
1890 John Heald (no serial) Note the unique thumb activated water key trigger (before repairs)
c1905 John Heald (25XX) Note the unique thumb activated water key trigger
c1914 John Heald "Artistone" Cornet (2554) Not well known is the fact that Heald made two long model cornets at the same time -- the other was the "Concertone" model. All Heald cornets employed his patented thumb-activated water key, a very useful feature. It is believed that Heald himself undertook all important facets of production personally -- these cornets are highly regarded as players, which seems to be confirmed by the surprising number which have survived in spite of what was surely a small total production.
1908 Frank Holton - New Proportion (short) 51XX
1911 Frank Holton "Couturier Model" 12,8XX (gold plated) (before repairs)
1922 Frank Holton - Clarke Model 59,5XX
1954 Holton Model 58 Bass Trumpet 268,XXX
Harry B. Jay, Chicago
1910 Harry B. Jay - Columbia Bb Cornet 5XX
1915 Harry B. Jay - Columbia Cornet-Trumpet 2,7XX
1925 Harry B. Jay - Columbia "Vocal" Cornet C/Bb/A 79XX (restoration by Rich Ita's Brass Instrument Workshop)
Henry Lehnert, Philadelphia
1870 Henry Lehnert Eb Miniature (no serial) This rotary cornet is unusual in several respects. It is a pocket cornet, and is less than 8" in length with the leadpipe shank removed. The rotary valves are "Allen" type, which means the tubing is widened and reduced in height as it enters the rotary valve. In this way, the valves don't have to rotate as much. Lehnert was a top U.S. maker in the 19th century and was located in Philadelphia. This cornet is nickel silver, often referred to as "German Silver" in catalogs of the day.
c1875 Lehnert C/Bb Rotary (no serial) This silver plated side-action rotary valve cornet has just completed its restoratoin. Mechanically it was in very good shape, although the bell and leadipe were extensively dented, and it was missing the mouthpiece receiver. Before restoration.
1900 H. Lehnert - American Standard (none)
(same cornet after additional restoration, with Bb shank) .
1896 Lyon & Healy "Champion"(none) Repair Shop
1914 Martin 63XX possibly a copy of the Conn "Conn-queror"
1930 Martin - Handcraft (page 1) 91,7XX (page 2) details of engraving
1956 Martin - Committee Deluxe 196,0XX
1957 Martin - Committee 203,8XX
George McFadden, Syracuse, NY
1876 McFadden Case Right Valve Cluster Bell Detail 1 Bell Detail 2 Mouthpiece & Shank (Robb Stewart Collection) Cornet in Bb, made by George McFadden in Syracuse, New York, in about 1876. Engraved on the bell is the designation: "Conic Acoustic Cornet". I assume that this has to do with the unusually long slowly tapering mouthpipe. It is otherwise very conventional, but visually unique. The bore measures .467". This cornet has survived in almost unused condition. The only repair ever done to this instrument the valves were plated at one time, and the corks were replaced.
This cornet commemorates the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and the awards that were won by McFaddens instruments. Not much is known about George McFadden. We first hear of him in Worcester Mass. in 1872, when he teamed up with Frederick Beaumont, a former employee of Isaac Fiske, to make copies of Fiske's instruments. They were out of business by 1875, at which time McFadden moved to Syracuse, New York, where he evidently continued making cornets. Instruments by McFadden are quite rare today.
c1880 George McFadden(1215)
c1882 George McFadden (1257) George McFadden was a very small maker of cornets located in Syracuse, NY. From what I've seen, his instruments were of very good quality. Only a handful are currently known to exist, and their serial numbers are all closely grouped, leading me to believe he may have made fewer than 300 total. So far, the Bb cornets fall into 4 known designs, here are two of the earliest. No. 1215 is Bb/A and high pitch. No. 1257 is Bb/A, low pitch, in spite of having a very short 11" bell length. It is also nickel plated, but of very nice quality -- normally nickel plating was a low-end finish option. Note the beautiful coffin case, which is certainly original to the horn, as it closely matches the cases with 3 other McFaddens.
c1895 George McFadden Cornet (23XX) McFadden had a small factory in Syracuse, located in upstate New York, far from the usual centers of instrument construction of the time. Note the unusual vertical double water key arrangement. This cornet required extensive repairs (before shots). During Repair
c1895 George McFadden Cornet
Z. Albert Meredith (if you own one, please email the serial number to me for a database I’ve been compiling. I also purchase Meredith cornets.)
1913 Meredith - Open Tone (short) 27XX Repair Shop
1915 Meredith - Open Tone (med. long) 32XX
1913 Meredith Open Tone Cornet, Model 4 (2768) Constructed soon after Meredith's 1912 patent was granted at the end of that year, this is a Model 4, in high or low pitch Bb. It has the additional engraving U.S.Q.M.C. (United States Quartermasters Corps) indicating it to be former military instrument. It was in near-junk condition when I got it. Before restoration
1907 Meredith Open Tone Cornet, Model 5 (XX99A1) Probably constructed during Meredith's first year of operation, this Model 5 has the neat push rods on the first and third slides to aid in converting from Bb to A. It would also have had an alternate tuning slide with a Bb/A rotary valve as well.
1880 Missenharter Bb 60XX
(page 2) after some dent removal
(page 3) after final repairs
1885 Missenharter Eb (page 1) 68XX
details of case (page 2)
after restoration (page 3)
before / after (page 4)
1890 J. W. Pepper Maker, Superior First Class 61XX (before repair) (following repairs) (probably made by Henry Distin)
1898 J.W. Pepper Pocket Cornet (11,8XX) Any truly vintage pocket cornet is a fairly rare item and this is the first in my collection. This example was imported by Pepper for sale in the U.S. and was quite inexpensive – under $20 at a time when a Conn was around three times that much. This Pepper required quite a bit of restoration as can be seen in the "before" and "during" photographs.
1879 August Pollmann Rotary (none) An inexpensive ($15.00 in 1879) imported string operated rotary cornet as sold by Pollman, of New York CIty. This was a "rescue" project -- I found this in nearly destroyed condition for not much money. The restoration was begun by Rich Ita several years ago (prior to my learning to do dent removal) with key repair and replacement done recently by Robb Stewart. I just did "finish and detailing" work to it. An interesting aspect to this cornet is that it was in Bb naturally (high pitch), but (according to the Pollmann catalog) came furnished with additional crooks to drop it into A, Ab and G. Note that this system required a special wide shank cornet mouthpiece (nearly the same as a trumpet). This was to eliminate the need for a shank to play in Bb. Shanks were only required for lower keys, unlike the French system which required a shank even for Bb. Mechanically, this system has advantages. Early Conns came the closest to this idea, requiring only a very short bit for Bb. I found a couple of pigtail crooks in my parts bin which I modified for Ab and G, and I've photographed the cornet set
1920 "Professional" (typ. S-leadpipe config) 60XXC
1941 F.A. Reynolds - Sterling 9,2XX
1948 Roth-Reynolds - Contempora 32,8XX
1880c Standard Band Instrument Company no serial number
After Repair and Spot Silverplating
H.N. White “King”
1900 H.N. White "The King" Slide Cornet 8XX
1909 H.N. White - King Improved Perfecto No.1 8,0XX
1911 H.N. White "King" Improved Vocal Model (11,0XX). Here is the early shepherd's crook version of the C/Bb/A cornet that White would make for years to come in a straight-crooked version
1911 H.N. White - King Perfecto No. 2 12,6XX
1914 H.N. White - King Perfecto No. 2A 14,5XX (gold plated)
1913 H.N. White - King Master 16,8XX
1919 H.N. White - King Long Model 25,7XX
1920 H.N. White - King Vocal C, Bb, A 28,4XX
1935 H.N. White King "Silvertone" (178,1XX) King made the famous Silvertone for many years -- this was like the Master model, except that the bell was solid sterling silver. The horn was available in eight levels of finish ranging from plain lacquer, all the way up to this example -- gold plated body, with extensive engraving on nearly all surfaces, and gold inlay within the bell engraving. This was an expensive proposition -- $250.00 during the height of the depression (the base model Silvertone was just $135.00), so it reasons that few were made at this level of finish.
1865 E.G. Wright Eb Cornet Bell Detail (Robb Stewart Collection) Cornet in Eb made by E.G. Wright in about 1865. Technically, this would qualify as a soprano flugelhorn or valved bugle, but at the time, both the manufacturers and the players called this a cornet. E.G. Wright was one of the 4 best brass instrument makers in the U.S. from about 1839 until his death in 1871. Instruments by Wright are fairly rare today, and very highly sought after by collectors.
1903 J.W. York & Sons - Monarch (page 1) (page 2) 10,1XX
1914 York "Wizard" (100061) This was designed by Ernst Couturier prior to him starting his own company, and employed his ideas on "continuous conical bore." Note that the slides are all permanently attached. This nearly mint original has a complete outfit as well. Also noteworthy is the breadth of the bell throat, which approaches that of a flugelhorn. He made a model for Holton, but I have never been able to figure out how it differed from their ordinary "New Proportion" -- it may have been identical; merely a marketing ploy.
1941 York Air Flow Cornet (22099) One of the most unique cornet and trumpet designs ever made was the Air Flow, made just prior to WW2. There were only slight differences between the two. It was designed so that the valves would be at a 45 degree angle from the player's point of view, and magazine ads made broad claims about adding several notes to the player's range. This example is silverplated with gold bell wash -- most were lacquered brass.