Saxophone Forum


by historicsaxwhisperer
(510 posts)
4 years ago

Floral Engraved Brass Horns from early 1920s

I have many years of vintage sax dealings. My sources have always educated me that brass horns manufactured during the early 1920s had limited engraving and were originally issued in raw brass form. Any horns from this era that are brass, have nice floral engraving, and are lacquered, originalloy were silver plated horns. They were stripped of their silver, buffed out and then lacquered. I have also been told this was a somewhat common practice during the 1940s and the 1950s when old horns were made to appear "more modern". Mostly for the student market. THUS, a true raw brass finish untouched is somewhat of a  rarity now.

I am just looking for comments that this is either true or situations where this is not correct.

I currently have a 144XXX Buescher alto without a front F that has a wonderful honey lacquered finish that screams out a refinishing/lacquering at the Buescher plant. The floral engraving is exceptional for an after market lacquering. The Forked E flat key has been closed off so nicely, it could only have been done by a trip back to the experts that manufacturered it. Getting rid of the forked E flat hole was also a common practice and a step up from simply putting a cork in the back Eflat cage to close it off. Saxquest has a rare Conn F mezzo for sale currently with the same sort of tone hole seal off on its alternate F#, also a buescher refurbish deal.

Thanks for any eduction here. Knowledge is power.

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  1. by GFC
    (794 posts)

    4 years ago

    Re: Floral Engraved Brass Horns from early 1920s

    Was the silver stripped chemically or by buffing?

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    1. by historicsaxwhisperer
      (510 posts)

      4 years ago

      Re: Floral Engraved Brass Horns from early 1920s

      My question to the forum is simply "Was stripping of silver horns a common practince, AND is historical engraving a clue as to wether a horn has or has not been through a process of stripping and then lacquering". I have no idea what process mine has been through or if it has at all. I know it had after market lacquer applied, probably at Buescher itself.  My question is a general question out to the long time wise and educated techs out there. Hopefully some who have been in the field for may years and have knowledge or experience at this process.

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      1. by GFC
        (794 posts)

        4 years ago

        Re: Floral Engraved Brass Horns from early 1920s

        I'll explain my question.  It would be extremely difficult to get the traces of plating out of the engraving simply with mechanical means, without chasing the plating out of the engraving by hand.  So knowing the method of stripping the plating might provide a clue as to whether the scenario you describe is likely.  It might be useful to examine the engraving closely, to see if there's evidence of re-engraving.  If it looks original and has no traces of silver, that would narrow it down to either 1) chemically stripped, or 2) never plated.  

        We also might consider the possibility that engraving was part of the package offered with a factory relacquer.

         

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        1. by historicsaxwhisperer
          (510 posts)

          4 years ago

          Re: Floral Engraved Brass Horns from early 1920s

          Considering the alto I have on my work table, a 144XXX Buescher without a front F, lacquered, and with crisp engraving done through the lacquer and not appearing to be under the lacquer, I do believe mine has been re-engraved or touched up to make it clear. The true tone emblem below the serial shows evidence of buffing out prior to the lacquer being applied. This appears so nice it probably was done by a trip back to the manufacturer.

          Considering stripping of a silver horn to brass prior to lacquering, I do not feel touches of silver being left in the engraving would be an issue. Historically horns were engraved after they were silver plated, engraved back to the brass. Lacquered Selmers were lacquered in Paris prior to being engraved in the USA. A horn that has been replated with silver will have the engraving looking thin unless it is retouched up back to brass.

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