I purchased a Beau Ideal cornet, with an A and Bb lead pipes, at a pawn shop to play some Gilbert and Sullivan shows. Of course it was in high pitch but that was no problem. The horn was in excellent condition and plays well but had no serial number on any valve casings. Assuming the numbers had been worn or polished off I was content playing it without looking for others. My curiosity finally overtook me and with two pairs of close-up glasses I was able to find a number 14 stamped on the frame holding the double water key assembly. Looking further the valves had roman numeral XIIII stamped on them. The main lead pipe has "France" stamped in it and the engraving on the bell of course has Beau Ideal Chicago etched there. Any information regarding the manufacturer and possible dates this horn was made would be appreciated. Thank you.
Answer Beau Ideal was a tradename used by Lyon and Healy of Chicago. I see a cornet configured similar to yours in the 1894 Lyon and Healy catalog. The actual maker is not specified but they do say that they are of French manufacture. They would not have serial numbers, and even if it had, the serial number would have no significance. Makers simply used serial numbers to keep track of the instrument and its parts thru manufacture. It is only enthusiasts after the fact that have attempted to use the serial to establish a chronology. The cost of the new instrument would have been $39.11 for the silverplate stain finish version.
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Kenton Scott took time from other things to answer my question. At a time when people seem to be thinking more about themselves than others, it is refreshing to know that a question about an old horn is researched and answered by someone who could have been watching Netflix instead.
Thank you Mr. Scott for the information you were able to provide.
Please note: My area is BRASS instruments, not other wind, string or percussion instruments.
I will provide information on antique, obscure and out of production BRASS instruments.
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I perform in several historical bands, have informally researched the area, repair brass instruments, and operate a Forum dedicated to the topic at http://horn-u-copia.net