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Trombone by Michael Nagel, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1656

NMM 3592.  Trombone by Michael Nagel, Imperial City of Nuremberg, 1656

NMM 3592. Tenor trombone by Michael Nagel, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1656Engraved on bell garland:  MACHT · MICHAEL [shield with bird and initials MN] NAGEL · NVR 1656. Slide may be an early 18th-century replacement. Ex coll.:  Bohland & Fuchs, Graslitz, Bohemia. Purchase funds gift of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford E. Graese, Saddle River, New Jersey, 1985.


The Bell Garland and Nagel's Master's Mark

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Maker's signature on trombone by Michael Nagel, Imperial City of Nuremberg, 1656

Michael Nagel (1621-1664), the son of a leather-worker, apprenticed with Conrad Droschel (1596-1644) in Nürnberg and worked as a journeyman with Hans Müller (fl. 1618-1630) in Vienna. He returned to Nürnberg in 1646 and was admitted as a master maker in the brass makers' guild in 1647.


While still in his mid-twenties, Nagel took over Droschel's shop after his death, married his mentor's young widow, and assumed Droschel's master's mark—a bird (Drossel in German translates as "thrush") facing to the right—to which he added his own initials, MN.

Maker's signature on Nagel trombone

Bell garland engraving

Michael Nagel was also closely associated with the great Hainlein family of brass instrument makers of Nürnberg. He was the godfather of Michael Hainlein (ca. 1659-1713), son of Paul (1626-1686), both of whom may have been mentors and/or co-workers with Johann Carl Kodisch, maker of the NMM's elaborately decorated trombone built in 1701.


Michael Nagel built this trombone when he was thirty-five years old. Note that he used an abbreviation for Nürnberg—NVR—preceding the date, 1656. The tab seam is clearly visible below the darts (representing stylized acanthus leaves) that encircle the inner edge of the garland.

Bell garland engraving of date, 1656


Bell Stay

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Bell stay on Nagel trombone Bell stay on Nagel trombone

Detail of bell stay on Nagel trombone

The single, flat bell stay is embellished on the center of both sides with an engraving of a woman holding a flower.


Nagel's bell stay has one eyelet and is connected to the bell pipe with a hinge and pin.

Detail of bell stay on Nagel trombone


Slide Stays and Bell Bow

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Slide stays on Nagel trombone

The slide, possibly an early 18th-century replacement, features brass slide stays made from embossed, machine-made garnishes featuring delicate floral and foliate designs.


The brass slide ferrules feature engraved and impressed rings alternating with embossed garnishes.

Slide stays on Nagel's trombone

Bell bow on Nagel's trombone

Ferrules on the bell bow feature decorative, punched designs surrounded by engraved and impressed rings on one end and a scalloped edge on the opposite end.



Literature:  "1985 Acquisitions at USD Music Museum," Newsletter of the American Musical Instrument Society 15, No. 1 (February 1985), p. 9.

Larry Kitzel, "The Trombones of The Shrine to Music Museum," D.M.A. dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 1985, pp. 234-235.

Margaret Downie Banks, "17th-and 18th-Century Brass Instruments at The Shrine to Music Museum," Brass Bulletin 58, No. 2 (1987), pp. 52, 54, and 56.

André P. Larson, The National Music Museum: A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 7.

William Waterhouse, The New Langwill Index: A Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors (London: Tony Bingham, 1993), p. 278.

Stewart Carter, "Early Trombones in America's Shrine to Music Museum," Historic Brass Society Journal 10 (1998), pp. 92-94, 102-104.


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