NMM 6986. Alto horn in E-flat, Boston, ca. 1880. Helicon style.
Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999
Alto horns in helicon form were offered both by the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory, in their catalogs of 1869, 1874, and 1887, and by Bostonian David C. Hall, in his 1879 catalog. A dating of ca. 1880 for this unsigned example is, therefore, reasonable. Helical instruments were often used in horse-mounted bands because they were much easier to handle while riding than were the upright-bell models.
The circular shape of this alto horn is completed by the addition of a non-functional "dummy tube" situated between the valve segment and the bell, another example of which can be seen on the Glier circular cornet (NMM 6820).
Body: German-silver-plated brass with circular, double-looped tubing: conical leadpipe; main tuning slide; cylindrical second bow; valve segment; two conical tube segments forming the circle; conical/hyperbolical bell; French rim.
Valves: Three side-action, string-operated rotary valves. Spiral-spring return mechanism; reciprocal driver pivot in the shape of a figure 8, with cork buffers stopped by two pins. Inner slide tubing. Windway: first, second, third valve.
Sounding length: 1913 mm; internal diameter, leadpipe: 12.1 mm; bore diameter (inner valve slides) 11.5 mm; bell diameter: 183 mm.
National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069