Go ToOldest known Bb trumpet, Besson ~ 1893
| Restoration of G. Besson number 29
| Restoration of A. Lecomte and G. Besson prototype Cornet
| Restoration of Dizzy Gillespie's 1962 Martin Committee
| Restoration of 1866 Adolphe Sax cornet
| Restoration of Pask and Koenig G. Besson Cornet
| Kohler Disc Valve Cornet
Oldest known modern Bb trumpet, Besson ~1893
The is the oldest yet known modern Bb trumpet. It dates from around 1893 and predates any other fixed mouthpipe trumpet by about 10 years. The visual design is almost identical to later Besson trumpets which was the basis for most all modern trumpets. However in internal design a bit different. The horn is a medium .453" bore with a conical main tuning slide. The mouthpiece receiver is also a cornet shank however the mouthpiece is of modern trumpet length. This was by far one of the most challenging restorations I have performed. The horn was completely destroyed when I initially purchased it having the bell bow completely crushed, the Z braces were bent so badly that the broke in half and snapped in several places, the bell bead was ripped off in several places as well as having many other issues throughout.
Restoration of G. Besson number 29
This is a Gustav Besson trumpet pitched in F dated 1857. This is the oldest known trumpet with the modern Perinet valve layout used on trumpets today. Before the restoration, the horn was petty much destroyed. Notice that the entire first valve slide assembly had to be fabricated and braised to the valve section.
Restoration of A. Lecomte and G. Besson prototype Cornet
I believe this is the first ever Lecomte cornet made with Lecomte and Gustav Besson in 1857 before Besson left for London. This horn is number 0 and uses German Silver for the slide ferrules, valve balusters and garland around the bell flair. The silver horn pictured is a Lecomte Excelsior model from 1879, of which the 1st is the prototype. The excelsior is an interesting horn as it has ovel shaped valve ports, allowing for an extremely short valve stroke.
Restoration of Dizzy Gillespie's 1962 Martin Committee
This horn was sent to me by legendary jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. This is a 1962 Martin Committee trumpet with sterling silver bell and gold plated body. When I got the horn to do the work I was skeptical of the history and over all condition was less than ideal. At some point in the instrument's history someone had done many very poor repairs and replaced the bent section to fit the bell with a straight tube and non original brace. The horn also suffered major damage to the mouthpipe, bell bow and tuning slides. The mouthpipe itself was quite a chore to repair, having several holes and cracks from being bent and also from redrot. I restored the horn using all original parts except for the bent bell section and brace from the valve section to the bell. I used many different pictures of Dizzy with this exact horn to try and match the pieces as best as possible.
Restoration of 1866 Adolphe Sax cornet
Complete restoration of an 1866 Adolphe Sax cornet for my friend Niles Eldridge. This cornet was in horrible shape with several large cracks in the bell, mouthpipe and slides. The horn was poorly repaired at some point before the restoration and was filled with solder. The horn is now in fantastic shape with no patches and is playable with original valves.
Restoration of Pask and Koenig G. Besson Cornet
1849 Pask and Keonig cornet by Gustav Besson possibly the oldest Besson cornet. Very interesting thing about this cornet, we know that Gustav Besson had an outpost at Pask and Keoning's shop in London as early as 1849. We also know that Pask and Keonig at the time were not making horns themselves and were importing instruments from France with their name on it. This cornet is also the earliest yet know bell number for a P&K cornet. Another very interesting factor is the number "4" stamped on the tuning bit receiver. Until I finished the restoration, I thought it was a pliers mark or some other marring, but after close examination is in fact the number 4. This is what I believe is the serial number for Besson's production at Rue Des 3 Couronne based on the fact that the Besson Faux Corneopeon (in my collection) has the same valve section and is serial number 12. This would then mean that this P&K cornet is the oldest yet known cornet from Besson's workshop. Another piece of the puzzle is the fact that Besson and Rodel (who were working together in the early years of Besson's shop) had patented the valve system in 1851, 1852 and 1853. This same valve system was also patented by Adolphe Sax in 1853. It is also known that there are examples of horns that were made with valve systems prior to the patent filing dates. For now, we still need to do more research, but as far as I can assume, this is the oldest Besson cornet yet known to exist!
Kohler Disc Valve Cornet
I very unique instrument featuring Shaw Disc Valves, this Kohler Cornet is serial 1077 which was made some point in the late 1840's to early 1850's. The Shaw disc valve was a unique approach to expanding the harmonic series in brass instruments that was short lived due to its easy malfunction and loss of air compression. This particular instrument was restored for Vince DeMartino. The horn initially from a distance appeared to be in rather good condition, however it was a rather difficult restoration with major damage that was poorly repaired over the years. There were also a large number of cracks in the tubing, bell and crooks which required brazing and 2 patches. Some of the ferrules for the slides were also cracked and beyond repair which required fabrication of new ones. The most difficult and time consuming part of the restoration was the repair of the third slide crook, which at one point was extremely damaged and quite poorly repaired and was split, cracked and holes filed into it. We eventually had to make a special ball out die for the repair. We finally also fabricated a new Bb tuning bit as the original was missing and only Ab was provided.