NMM 7023. Cornet in B-flat/C, with Quick-Change to A/B, attributed to New England, ca. 1860
Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, 1999
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Cornet set up in B-flat configuration
This is an atypical instrument compared to normal 1860s cornet design. The most distinctive feature is the presence of two alternative leadpipes, one for B-flat and one for C, and their corresponding main tuning slides. The valve order may also be reversed (i.e., a semitone first valve versus a whole-tone first valve).
The entire body is made of German-silver, not brass, which resembles several instruments by Thomas D. Paine, an early New England maker. Additionally, the presence of flat Allen valves also suggests that this cornet was made in New England.
Body: German-silver with double-looped tubing: two alternative leadpipes; two alternative main tuning slides; valve cluster; conical bell bow and bellpipe; Saxon rim with iron wire inlay.
Valves: Three top-action, string-operated, flat rotary valves. Spiral-spring return mechanisms; reciprocal driver pivot with stopping buffers positioned inside the rotor. Internal slide tubing. Windway: quick-change valve; first, second, third valve.
Accessories: Two alternative main tuning slides for C and B-flat and three alternative third-valve slides. Funnel-shaped, German-silver mouthpiece with unusually large throat and backbore. Wooden case.
Additional main tuning slide for C and three extra third-valve slides
Sounding length of instrument in B-flat configuration: 1277 mm; sounding length in C configuration: 1166 mm; internal diameter, leadpipe: 8.9 mm; bore diameter (inner valve slides) 11.7 mm; bell diameter: 106 mm.
Literature: Joe R. Utleyć and Sabine K. Klaus, "The 'Catholic' Fingering—First Valve Semitone: Reversed Valve Order in Brass Instruments and Related Valve Constructions," Historic Brass Society Journal 15 (2003), pp. 73-161.
National Music Museum
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