The Arigra, the Exaktaand other octagonal trumpets
Musikwinkel. Graslitz was where the Arigra trumpet came from, Markneukirchen was the home of the Exakta octagonal trumpet and others, made by members of the Migma and Sinfonia workshops.
Arigra and other Czech trumpets
ARIGRA is an acronym for Anton RIedl GRAslitz. Anton Riedl was born in 1861 and established his own company in 1885. Riedl was an accomplished maker of brass instruments, (rotary) valve blocks and bells and also a trader of other musical instruments. Exporting to all countries, as an ad states.
By the end of the 19th century there were 11 musical instrument factories in operation in Graslitz, employing some 300 workers and 16 merchants trading musical instruments. Graslitz then was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire
After WWI, Graslitz was part of the new Czecho Slovakian Republik. Production in Graslitz quickly recovered and at a time there were 59 musical instrument manufacturers in the area including such names as Bohland & Fuchs, F.X.Hüller, A.K. Hüttl and Julius Keilwerth. And Musikinstrumenten-Fabrik Anton Riedl, by then located at the Eibenbergerstrasse 835 in Graslitz (now: Wolkerova, Kraslice).
In 1931 Anton reached the age of 70 years as senior chef of his
Musikinstrumentenfabrik in full physical and mental health, as the Zeitschrift
für Instrumentenbau mentions. Riedl's son Hugo became partner in the Musikinstrumenten-Fabrik Anton Riedl from 17-01-1931
onwards (an OHG, Offene Handelgeselschaft). From 14-05-1938 Hugo Riedl is registered as the sole owner of Anton Riedl
Musikinstrumenten-Fabrik, trade name Arigra. In a list of house owners in May
1945 Hugo is still listed at the address Eibenberger Strasse 835. After WWII
Germans were expelled from what again became Czechoslovakia. In a list of German
people that were expelled, Hugo is not mentioned, but Anna Riedl (49) is
mentioned as owner of a factory, with a husband in Bavaria, departure provided
by a train on October 11th 1946.
Anton Riedl ad Anton Riedl sousaphones played in a youth orchestra around the 1933 Musikfest in Graslitz
Although Riedl made other instruments, he's best known for his octagonal Arigra
trumpets. Friedel Keim describes them in
his book Das grosse Buch der Trompete" as being inspired
by the Jugenstil (Art Nouveau) style, the international style of about 1890 until 1914.
But most often they are referred to as Art Deco style.
Art Deco was a design style popular from approximately 1925
Art Deco The name is derived from the style's origins at the the 1925
Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes
(International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art) in Paris,
although the term "Art Deco" was not commonly used until the 1968 publication of
Bevis Hillier's art history book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s. Art Deco was an opulent and purely decorative style that
projected elegant modernism. Much of Art Deco style is based on clean geographic
shapes with sunbursts, chevrons, zigzags, and octagons predominating. The
increasing dominance of technology is reflected in images celebrating machines
like railroads and airplanes. Sweeping curves in buildings reflected new trends
in aerodynamic streamline vehicle design. Objects from the natural world
(especially eagles) were presented in geometrically stylized designs. As an aside it must be said that a lot of the
horns for phonographs, invented in 1877, also were built with 8 (or more, or
less) panels. To be researched a little more.... The Arigra octagonal trumpets have to be dated somewhere
between 1925 and 1937, maybe even between 1930 and 1937. Maybe Hugo Riedl was
the initiator/maker, as his father was in his seventies already by then. This was the period in
which also other examples of art deco like trumpets appear on the market. Apart from their
octagonal bell, the Arigra trumpets have a lot of art deco style details. There
also is a remarkable, not to say incredible lot of variety between the instruments, not in their overall form but
in details like the bracing, the engraving, the spins, the valve blocks. That's
possibly because they were handmade
over a longer period of time, or maybe the parts were sourced from diffferent
makers. Braces Most often the Arigra's have a hexagonal shaped spin as the main slide brace.
But there are also some examples of otherwise formed spins, a
double brace and several examples of a single diagonal brace, with different
combined with old style round brace
Arigra Extra with octagonal spin
diagonal single braces
no brace, probably because the in-between part in the
main tuning slide is missing. Valve block A solid hexagonal valve block is found on part of the Arigra's. The other ones have 'normal'
spaces between the hexagonal valve casings. But there are also Arigra's with fluted casings. Mouthpiece An octagonal mouthpiece is part of the original Arigra set up.
The name is derived from the style's origins at the the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art) in Paris, although the term "Art Deco" was not commonly used until the 1968 publication of Bevis Hillier's art history book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.
Art Deco was an opulent and purely decorative style that projected elegant modernism. Much of Art Deco style is based on clean geographic shapes with sunbursts, chevrons, zigzags, and octagons predominating. The increasing dominance of technology is reflected in images celebrating machines like railroads and airplanes. Sweeping curves in buildings reflected new trends in aerodynamic streamline vehicle design. Objects from the natural world (especially eagles) were presented in geometrically stylized designs.
As an aside it must be said that a lot of the horns for phonographs, invented in 1877, also were built with 8 (or more, or less) panels. To be researched a little more....
The Arigra octagonal trumpets have to be dated somewhere between 1925 and 1937, maybe even between 1930 and 1937. Maybe Hugo Riedl was the initiator/maker, as his father was in his seventies already by then. This was the period in which also other examples of art deco like trumpets appear on the market. Apart from their octagonal bell, the Arigra trumpets have a lot of art deco style details. There also is a remarkable, not to say incredible lot of variety between the instruments, not in their overall form but in details like the bracing, the engraving, the spins, the valve blocks. That's possibly because they were handmade over a longer period of time, or maybe the parts were sourced from diffferent makers.
Most often the Arigra's have a hexagonal shaped spin as the main slide brace. But there are also some examples of otherwise formed spins, a double brace and several examples of a single diagonal brace, with different angles.
hexagonal spin, combined with old style round brace
Arigra Extra with octagonal spin
diagonal single braces
no brace, probably because the in-between part in the main tuning slide is missing.
A solid hexagonal valve block is found on part of the Arigra's. The other ones have 'normal' spaces between the hexagonal valve casings.
But there are also Arigra's with fluted casings.
An octagonal mouthpiece is part of the original Arigra set up.
Almost all the Arigra's have this shady lettering. The Arigra Extra has 'Extra' engraved instead of 'Arigra' (difficult to see). The difference with the normal Arigra lies in the shape of the spin. And there is an Arigra with an additional 'L. Tůma' engraved. L. Tůma, was a Prague firm, selling, renting and exchanging all musical instruments.
Most of the Arigra's also have engravings inside the bell, reflecting the engraving on the outside. Quite often the bells have handhammered facets.
The (presumed) evolution of the logos Anton Riedl used. He must have started with 'Musikinstrumentenfabrik Anton Riedl Graslitz 835/Č.S.R. (835 being the address and Č.S.R. referring to Československá republika, the Czecho Slovakian Republik that existed from 1918 till 1939 and from 1945 till 1960). The trade mark Arigra was introduced and the Anton Riedl reference disappears. I guess the organic forms came first and then the more geometrical 'art deco' designs. The variety is fascinating.
There are a few examples of another Arigra model named Standart. This model has a round bell but quite some octagonal and hexagonal details in common with the octagonal model, like the valve casing, ferrules. It might be a precursor to this model, or a 'light' version. The model name, Standart instead of Standard, must be a statement....
Arigra Standart, valves numbered 58,49,60 coll. Gerard Westerhof
An Arigra Standart sold on Ebay December 2014 has on the middle valve a reference to a Britisch patent, numbered 486345.
Arigra Standart, valves numbered 67,68,69 source: Ebay.de
That patent, BRIT. PAT. 486345. was applied for on March 17th, 1937 by Heinrich Hermann Dick from German Markneukirchen. It refers specifically to the hexagonal valve casings and the solid valve block, and also mentions the valve heads being screwed inside the valve casings and the pistons provided with a projection registering in a groove in the casing.
patent drawing showing the hexagonal solid valve block and caps and bottoms screwed inside
Heinrich Hermann Dick was the son of trumpet maker Heinrich Dick. Heinrich Dick in 1848 established a dealership for brass instruments in Markneukirchen which was expanded into a manufacturing and exporting company for musical instruments and accessories by his son. As a mail order firm they traded mainly string instruments. In the thirties all other instruments were added, as were mechanical instruments.
The conclusion must be that Dick tried to market the Arigra instrument in Great Britain.
A similar instrument was offered in September 2013 on Ebay with an asking price of $12.000. It didn't sell...
The hand hammered instrument with silverplating and gold wash has the name VOSCH engraved on the bell. The same Britisch patent number is engraved: BRIT. PAT. 486345. There's a similar Vosch in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin. Another Vosch, owned by Daniel Becker from Essen (G) is pretty much the same. Remarkable difference: it has 'Patent regd. 7733' on the valve block. Not clear what that means, as it's a pretty low number for German, UK or US patents.... The valve is marked 13. On the mouthpiece reciever of this Vosch there's a styled AR, suggesting again Anton Riedl as the maker. Which makes me think that Vosch might be a trade name.
A Broadway, that was sold on the American market also looks pretty much the same. This instrument was sold in 2014 on the Swedish auction site Tradera. Hexagonal valve casings, thumb ring, ferrules and an octagonal spin, all like the Hermann Dick/Arigra/Vosch instrument. It looks like on the bell there's written 'American Model' and 'The Best of the World'.
And here's an Arigra trumpet with solid hexagonal valve block and round bell with 'Arigra' on that bell, with the hexagonal spin.
Arigra, valve numbered 24 A, source Aukro.cz 2016
A similar trumpet with a typical 'Arigra' valve block, hexagonal spin and thumb ring and two digit number on middle valve, engraved 'Picalle Paris' as well as a naked lady. Detail: the spin is not on the extension piece..
Picalle Paris source: g.mu6 Ebay.com 2016
Below is a trumpet with all the typical Arigra features, without the octagonal bell. The bell has no makers name but the logo frame is identical to one of the Arigra logo's above.
Bohland & Fuchs
The trumpet below is definitely a Bohland & Fuchs. Bohland and Fuchs are established as a partnership in 1870, following the firm of Gustavus Bohland, which had been founded 20 years earlier, and flourished until 1945 when the firm was nationalized. By 1925, they had a workforce of 500. They were the first to use steam engines in their factory before WWI. Before WWII Bohland & Fuchs was one of the main brass instrument factories in Graslitz. During the war most factories were in the war industry. After the war, the production facilities of firms like B&F, Kohlert, Keilwerth, Hüller were merged into the AMATI cooperative (and in 1948 nationalized). So I guess the Bohland & Fuchs instrument will be pre-war. The instrument is engraved with the B&F logo and 'Paris' and a serial number 955 on the middle valve housing (with an anchor under the number). All three of the valves also are marked with "955" (and with 1,2,3 respectively).
Catalog page (ca 1925-1938) with the founders and trademark of Bohland & Fuchs a view in the Bohland & Fuchs workshop
An almost identical trumpet, engraved Const. Riedl Nürnberg also has a small (B&F) anchor on the valve block and a serial number 1219. Konstantin Josef Riedl (Nürnberg 22-6-1869 - 19-1-1950) established his workshop in 1883. His son Konstantin Richard Riedl (Nürnberg 31-3-1900 - ? ) started in 1925. In 1930 the workshop was located at the address Hintere Kartäusergasse 5, according to the 'Buch der alten Firmen der Stadt Nürnberg' from that year. That's also the address that's on a logo in the case. The address doesn't exist any more, maybe it disappeared in the WWII bombings that destroyed 80% of the Nürnberg centre. Riedl also is known as an instrument trader.
Const.Riedl Nürnberg, coll. Stefan Hackmann
Another trumpet, bearing the B&F anchor with serial number 793 has the name Imperator engraved.
Imperator B&F sr.nr. 793 source Ebay 2015
And this octagonal bell B&F trumpet with serial number 1199 bears the name VUS Berlin.
VUS Berlin, sr.nr.1199 source Ebay 2016
Another VUS Berlin trumpet (no octagonal bell), also with the B&F anchor and serial number 391, has the 'Arigra spin', fluted valve casings, octagonal/hexagonal valve caps and bottoms, with the downside of the bottoms similar to the Eugene Schuster Majestic Aristocat (see below).
V.F. Červený & Synové
A 1920's to 30's V.F. Červený & Synové Art Deco Trumpet was offered september 2011 on Ebay by a Canadian seller. It has a octagonal and rimless bell, 8 vertical ridges on the valve casings and hexagonal valve caps and bottoms.
It is engraved with the name of the Czech brass manufacturer V.F. Červený & Synové (Červený & Sons) from Hradec Králové ('castle of the queen). The seller identified it as an Bohemian made Bohland & Fuchs (B&F) horn, due to the ship anchor stamp on the second valve. There is also a serial number 1459 located. (maybe only the valveblock was from B&F, as it looks very much like the valveblock of the B&F trumpet below.) The seller believed the instrument was probably manufactured as an unadorned stencil by B&F in Graslitz, and then finished in Hradec Králové. There was quite a free exchange of ideas, patterns, and parts in Bohemia and Vogtland in these days. A customer of Czech origin stated that the engraving pattern on the bell is common to Czech painted and etched glass and crystal.
The horns above have a lot of similarities with the Lignatone octagonal trumpet below, for instance the valve block and the bracket between the main tuning slide. Lignatone is a trademark that was used by the state owned AMATI company after WWII for Czech export horns and other instruments.
Lignatone nr. 42 coll. Markus Wieghaus, Germany
After World War II, in September 1945, musical instrument manufacturers in Kraslice merged on 17.10.1945 into a cooperative that was given the name "AMATI" (now: Amati-Denak). One of them was Anton Riedl. In 1948, the cooperative was nationalized. Some other firms incorpororated were F.X. Hüller & Co, Josef Glassl, Bohland & Fuchs, Julius Keilwerth, A.K. Hüttl, Franz Michl and Kohlerts Söhne. An octagonal Amati trumpet was offered in 2013 on the German auction site Quoka. It's identical with the pre-war Arigra's, even in the lettering.
That the Arigra was marketed after WWII also becomes clear in a Ligna catalog that is directed to the Latin American/Spanish market. Ligna (latin for wood) was a trade company for (mainly) the export and import of wood and wooden products, founded in 1949. As the catalog shows, it had a department for musical instruments, the catalog showing mainly brass instruments (but also clarinets, bassoons and oboes). On the backside of the cover the brands Cremona (for guitars), Amati (for brass) and Melodia (for accordeons) are mentioned. The saxofones are branded Toneking, which implies that the catalog dates before 1955 (that year Amati had to stop using this brand in favor of Keilwerth).
In this Ligna catalog the Arigra trumpets have a separate entry and are advertised as 'especially for jazz band musicians'. Two models: the Arigra Standard with the one piece valve block and the Arigra Luxus.
Arigra Standard and Arigra Luxus in the Ligna S.A. catalog, between 1949 and 1955
The Arigra Luxus is stated to be identical to the 'Paris' model in the same catalog, although the last one has a S shaped brace instead of the Arigra spin and also the pinky hook is a traditional one. The Paris has side operated spit valves, as has the Paris model from Bohland & Fuchs above with serial 955.
Paris model in Ligna catalog
The typical Arigra spin and valve caps along with some octagonal ferrules is also found on this Amati from Kraslice. Here the valve casings have the vertical ridges that are seen on the Bohland & Fuchs trumpets (that also was incorporated in the Amati collective).
source Aukro.cz 2013
And a similar Amati with a rimless bell and serial number 14975:
This Bohland & Fuchs trumpet with serial number 1469 also has a rimless bell. And it has this typical 'Arigra' spin. It must be post WWII as it's engraved Kraslice, the Czech name of Graslitz that was used after the war.
Bohland & Fuchs Kraslice sr.nr.1469 Ebay.de 2015
And it's identical to this trumpet in the above mentioned Ligna catalog, model number 3000. For jazzband, 'model for virtuosos'.
source: catalog Ligna S.A.
A pretty much similar trumpet with also a rimless bell is this one engraved Princess. Its has the numbers 108 and 461 on the middle valve. The downside of the valve bottoms is similar to the one thet are found one the Schuster Majestic Aristocrat (see below)
Princess nr. 108 461, source Ebay 2015
This Roland has serial number 968 and the B&F anchor.
A wrecked trumpet marked R.J. Jackson Omega popped up on Ebay UK in december 2014. It has octagonal valve caps and bottoms, octagonal B&F like ridges, a Arigra Standart-like spin and art deco engravings.
R.J.Jackson Omega, valves marked 10, 11, 12 source Ebay.co.uk
J Steijn Zaandam Imperial
Another B&F stencil with fluted casings and 'Arigra' spin, marked Imperial and traded by Dutch music shop J. Steijn in Zaandam.
J. Steijn Zaandam Imperial sr.nr. 536 source marktplaats.nl 2016
Dearman is a trademark of John E. Dallas & Sons, who distributed the Czech B&F trumpets under the names Dearman Master, New Special, New Super. Octagonal and hexagonal details, art-deco engraving, it's all there. The bell also says 'foreign', which confirms that it's produced outside Great Britain.
The Rolls Diplomat and the Super Rolls Diplomat are also trumpets with fluted casings and a lot of art deco details. Trevor Jones who offers one for sale states that they were probably made by Bohland & Fuchs for Selmer. Several cases say Rolls Diplomat Handcraft Instruments, 8, Moore Street London W. Which is close to 12, Moor Street where Ben Davis is said to have started Selmer London back in 1929 when he secured an agency deal to sell saxophones supplied by the French company Selmer. In 1937 they moved to 114-116, Charing Cross Road, a few minutes walk. (Other sources say however that Ben started at the 1st floor of 126, Charing Cross Road and moved to 114-116 in 1932...)
NNone of the Rolls Diplomats I've seen has the typical B&F anchor however, most of them have a double figure serial number which isn't typical for B&F either. Most of them also have the engraving Foreign on the middle valve casing, indicating that they were made outside of the UK.
A similar valve block with the vertical ridges on the valve casings and a lot of other 'art deco' details are found on this trumpet engraved Ditta Prof. Romeo Orsi Milano Perfectum. It has a rimless bell. The spin slightly differs from the above ones.
Ditta Prof. Romeo Orsi Milano Perfectum. coll. Robert Woodruff, Pennsylvania US, before restauration (above) and after (below). Pinky hook and 3rd valve slide ring added, valve bottoms replaced with hexagonal ones
Romeo Orsi (1843 - 1918) was a clarinettist and an instrument maker in Milano. As of 1918 the firm was called Prof.Romeo Orsi. Ditta is the italian word for company and Perfectum was the top line of their instruments, in a constructional and esthetical way.
1938 catalog Ditta Prof. Romeo Orsi Milano, coll. Francesco Carreras, Pisa
This instrument is featured in the 1938 Orsi catalog and shows a hexagonal
spin, braces, ferrules and valve tops, octagonal valve caps and bottoms. The instruments labelled "Perfectum"
were top quality production of Orsi and included woodwinds as well as
brass winds. It's an instrument not produced for many years since it's
not in the 1932 catalog and disappears in the later catalogs. The
similarities between the valve blocks of the Červený,
B&F, Lignatone and Orsi instruments could indicate they came from the
same valve block maker.
Emperor Virtuose Another trumpet with octagonal valve caps and bottoms,
fluted casings and a lot of hexagonal details, sold from New York and
engraved Emperor Virtuose. The seller states that the valve casings are
numbered 7,8,9 and dates it in the 1930's, which I think is correct.
Emperor Virtuose probably is a French brand by Dolnet from Paris. Emperor Virtuose, valve casings nr 7,8,9 source:
Ebay.com 2018 Triumph, Anton Riedl Back to Anton Riedl. A trumpet with a hexagonal valve block was offered on Ebay.de
in 2015. It's engraved 'Triumph' and has a lot of hexagonal
details, especially the valve caps and bottoms.
Anton Riedl advertised Triumph as his jazz trumpet brand, this is definitely
an (early) Riedl.
Another trumpet with octagonal valve caps and bottoms, fluted casings and a lot of hexagonal details, sold from New York and engraved Emperor Virtuose. The seller states that the valve casings are numbered 7,8,9 and dates it in the 1930's, which I think is correct. Emperor Virtuose probably is a French brand by Dolnet from Paris.
Emperor Virtuose, valve casings nr 7,8,9 source: Ebay.com 2018
Triumph, Anton Riedl
Back to Anton Riedl. A trumpet with a hexagonal valve block was offered on Ebay.de in 2015. It's engraved 'Triumph' and has a lot of hexagonal details, especially the valve caps and bottoms. Anton Riedl advertised Triumph as his jazz trumpet brand, this is definitely an (early) Riedl.
Anton RiedlTriumph, valves numbered 4,5,6, snippet of Anton Riedl ad.
AK Hüttl Kraslice
The above trumpet is marked AK Hüttl Kraslice. Anton Konrad Hüttl (started his workshop in 1877, in 1935 some 40.000 brass instruments a year were made. Together with Bohland & Fuchs Hüttl took care of 60% of the Graslitz export of brass instruments. And like B&F the firm was confiscated in May 1945, and became part of the Amati collective. Hans Hüttl worked from 1947-1954 in South Wales were Boosey and Hawkes gave him the opportunity to look for new export markets. This trumpet is also not octagonal but hexagonal in it's details. The valve casings are marked 49, 50, 51. What's interesting is that it reads Kraslice instead of Graslitz, suggesting that it was made after WW II and somewhere before the start of Amati (although there seems to have been a transition period in which names like Bohland & Fuchs were used in combination with the Amati label). It looks very much like the above Triumph however.
This trumpet offered on Ebay in 2013 also has hexagonal valve casings and other hexagonal details and a hammered bell. The valve block is not of the solid type. Probably pre WW-II, the engraving is difficult to read, the seller's estimate is 'Zolena'. It looks a lot like the above Triumph and the AK Hüttl, obviously missing the piece with the spin that would make it play in Bb.
Chas E. Foote, London
A more or less identical trumpet is engraved "Chas E. Foote" and "Ref '25'". Charles Edward Foote opened a music shop in 1920 at 232 Hornsey Road, London. It relocated to Soho in the 1930's. It has the same hexagonal valve caps and bottoms as the Thriumph and the Hüttl. This instrument also seems to be missing the piece that makes it play in Bb, it's handhammered and has a rimless bell like the Zolena. Foote's instruments are often marked Ref, Super Ref or Ref Streamline.
For now my hypothesis is that is has the same Graslitz origin as the above trumpets.
Chas E. Foote, Ref 25, coll.: Martin Littlewood UK
Chas E. Foote Ltd. shop in London, UK
Another trumpet with hexagonal valve casings is branded Super-Vox Artiste Model and was offered through UK Ebay in 2018.
Super Vox Artiste source: Ebay.co.uk 2018
An 'important' difference with the above trumpets is the ribbed edge at the tubes.
Looking for some background of this Super-Vox trumpet I found a page of a catalog from Vox, the UK producer of amplifiers that emerged in the 60's and was made popular by the Beatles. In a 1964 and a 1965 price list there are apart from the amplifier stuff a few saxophone models advertised with the model name Vox Artist Model. On the Bassic-Sax website Helen Kahlke explains how the Thomas Organ Company in California tried to expand their Vox amp business to the wind bands with the Amplifonic, offering a whole bunch of wind instruments. But that was around 1968 and I think the above Super-Vox is much older than that.....
So far for the Czech/Graslitz related instruments. Now over to Markneukirchen.
The Exakta and other octagonal bell trumpets from Markneukirchen
From the forties till the seventies octagonal trumpets were made by GDR makers from Markneukirchen operating in the Sinfonia and Migma groups, like Kurt Knoth, A.K. Wunderlich and Johannes Scherzer. "This peculiar shape of brass instruments was interesting to show orchestra's. That was going on already in the 1940s", says museum direktor Heidrun Eichler from Markneukirchen.
Brass instrument maker Mario Weller from Markneukirchen, who researches the history of 20th century
brass instrument making in Vogtland, told me in March 2013: „Most of the brass instrument makers
in the Vogtland made their octagonal bells out of standard bells, on their own
rods. That's known for the workshops of Johannes Scherzer, A.K.Wunderlich and
for the 12-sided version that came from the workshop of Erhard Sawatzki. The
basic bells for all three workshops came from bell maker Heinz Nürnberger,
formerly Firma Ernst Dölling, Markneukirchen. Heinz Nürnberger is known to have
had his own 8 sided rod, that he lent to another Sinfonia member (Otto Meinel)
when needed. Also known is that around 1950 instrument and bell maker August
Reichel jun. made octagonal bells and sold them to Vogtlandian instrument
The company A. K. Wunderlich in Markneukirchen was known for their 'Exakta' trumpets, but also build french horns and trombones. It was founded in 1907 by Alfred Wunderlich (26.05.1883 - 01.01.1969). His father and brother were both active as brass instrument makers. Alfred joined with this brother under the name „Gebr. Wunderlich“. Around 1938 his son Kurt Wunderlich (16.05.1908 - 10.05.1994) became his partner, hence the name A. K. Wunderlich ('A' for Alfred, 'K' for Kurt). In the shop at Mosenstraße 10 they had up to 6 people working. Many apprentices were trained, some of whom continued their craftsmanship in a workshop of their own.The company was dissolved in 1990.
The Exakta logo was used already by Alfred, so before 1938
Most of their octagonal trumpets were build from 1945 till
ca. 1970/75, After that interest strongly declined.
Wunderlich Exakta luxury version with goldlacquer on valve caps and bottoms and inside bell, coll.: Gerard Westerhof
This Wunderlich Exakta is listed in a 1961 catalog from the Grosshandelskontor für Möbel-und Kulturwaren from 1961. It comes in three versions, with only the bell octagonal, bell and valve block octagonal and a fully octagonal one (except tubes).
In a 1962 pricelist it's offered for (DDR) DM 275, DM 365 and DM 400 for the luxury version.
Here's another Exakta, with an octagonal bell rim.
A.K. Wunderlich Markneukirchen Migma, (mouthpiece: WERMA Compakt 18)
A double-braced Exakta
A.K.Wunderlich ca. 1960, double brace, coll. Trompetenmuseum Bad Säckingen
Wunderlich made these octagonal bell trumpets with hexagonal shaped valve casings but also with round valve casings. Hammered tubes are found on a lot of these trumpets, others are engraved.
The bell engravings also vary to quite some extent. AK Wunderlich and Markneukirchen and/or Migma are common. There's also an 'Originel Wunderlich'.
Wunderlich also made Exakta octagonal trombones with double braces.
Migma & Sinfonia
Musical instrument makers around Markneukirchen were organised in cooperatives, for the purchase of materials and selling of products. Wunderlich was member of Migma, an acronym for "Musikinstrumenten Genossenschaft Markneukirchen", a cooperative with at a time several hundred musical instrument makers, established in 1943 and still existing. Other workshops were organised in Sinfonia, a production cooperative (PGH, Produktions Geselschaft) that existed as of 1960. In the seventies, wenn it became clear that with export of hand made instruments foreign currency could be acquired, the PGH Sinfonia was transferred into a 'Volkseigene Betrieb' (VEB Sinfonia), a state organisation. In 1984 the VEB SINFONIA became VEB Blechblas- und Signalinstrumentenfabrik Markneukirchen. In 1990 VEB B & S became the Vogtländische Musikinstrumentenfabrik GmbH (VMI).
Members of PGH Sinfonia were amongst others Johannes Scherzer, who in 1961 took over the workshop of his uncle Kurt Knoth (both using the tradename 'Rino'), Karl Mönnich, Albert Wolfram, Otto Meinel, Walter Mönnig, Erhard Sawatzki as well as the Philipp Reichel workshop with his 'subdivisions' Armin Glier and Klaus Wolfram.
The workshop of Kurth Knoth and his successor (and nephew) Johannes Scherzer made several
hundreds of octagonal trumpets, according to Mario Weller. Kurth Knoth took over
the Rino workshop from his father Emil in 1935, and moved it to the Mosenstraße
13 in Markneukirchen. In 1961 Kurt Knoth who was a member of Migma, joined the
PGH Sinfonia. As of 1961 Johannes Scherzer was in charge of the workshop. The Scherzer
workshop then in 1984 became part of the VEB Blechblas- und
Here's an octagonal trumpet engraved Kurt Knoth Instr.Baumeister with trademark
Rino and sold through Migma, with hammered tubing and gold wash bell. Dated 1940
-1950 by the 2014 Ebay seller, but as it's engraved Migma it can't be before
A Rino octagonal trumpet with Sinfonia on the spin and Rino on the bell and
pinky hook. As it's marked Sinfonia it must be later than 1960
Kurth Knoth Rino Sinfonia,
valves numbered 37, 38 (2), 39 source Ebay.com 2015. Johannes Scherzer, Sinfonia,
1979 silver plated & gold lacquered, coll Heikki Moisio Finland
Here's an octagonal trumpet engraved Kurt Knoth Instr.Baumeister with trademark Rino and sold through Migma, with hammered tubing and gold wash bell. Dated 1940 -1950 by the 2014 Ebay seller, but as it's engraved Migma it can't be before 1943.
A Rino octagonal trumpet with Sinfonia on the spin and Rino on the bell and pinky hook. As it's marked Sinfonia it must be later than 1960
Kurth Knoth Rino Sinfonia, valves numbered 37, 38 (2), 39 source Ebay.com 2015.
Johannes Scherzer, Sinfonia, 1979 silver plated & gold lacquered, coll Heikki Moisio Finland
Here's another trumpet marked Scherzer, with octagonal valve casing, bottoms and caps, similar to those of the Kurth Knoth above. This one however has a hexagonal bell and hexagonal ferrules. It was offered on Ebay from 2014 till 2015 by instrument maker Simon Freyer in Friedrichsdorf, who believes it's a one off. The serial number is 4956, the valves are marked 37,38,39.
As a side step, a no name trumpet that presumably also has it's origins in Markneukirchen. Some octagonal tubes, hammered bell, valves and other details hexagonal. On the bell: Musik Kapelle 'KVB' No 2. The seller suggests that it may have been playd in the orchestra of the Kölner Verkehrs Betriebe (the transport company of Cologne) .
Albert Wolfram Markneukirchen
Albert Wolfram (+2007) who started
his workshop in 1957 used the tradename Alberto. His son Gerhard Wolfram is the last known instrument maker in Markneukirchen still building octagonal
Meister Albert Wolfram, Sinfonia, marked Alberto
A.Wolfram valve block marked V 1617 The octagonal trumpets of Albert Wolfram appear regularly at sites like Ebay. Super An octagonal trumpet with a valve block similar to the above Wolfram appeared
on Ebay in 2016. It has the name Super on it, a number (624?) on the valve block
and no Sinfonia spin.
Alberto, Albert Wolfram Markneukirchen
Albert Wolfram (+2007) who started his workshop in 1957 used the tradename Alberto. His son Gerhard Wolfram is the last known instrument maker in Markneukirchen still building octagonal trumpets.
Meister Albert Wolfram, Sinfonia, marked Alberto A.Wolfram valve block marked V 1617
The octagonal trumpets of Albert Wolfram appear regularly at sites like Ebay.
An octagonal trumpet with a valve block similar to the above Wolfram appeared on Ebay in 2016. It has the name Super on it, a number (624?) on the valve block and no Sinfonia spin.
Horst Voigt, Markneukirchen
An octagonal cornet was signed by Horst Voigt, Markneukirchen. Horst Voigt(1920 - 1994) was educated at A.K. Wunderlich and opened his own workshop in 1951. In 1953 his many years younger brother Helmut joined him.
Another octagonal cornet that has octagonal valve caps and valve casings. No makers name, presumably older than the Horst Voigt cornet and definitely no Arigra as is suggested in it's ebay ad
octagonal cornet,source g.mu6 ebay.com
Meister Joseph Pscherer was born in 1909 in Eibenberg (7km from Graslitz, now Czech). According to Mario Weller, he got his education in Graslitz and worked from 1953 till 1978/1980 in Klingenthal, 7 km from Graslitz on the German side of the border. He passed away around 1996. Pscherer always worked alone and had his instruments sold through the Migma collective, and incidentally also through PGH Sinfonia, as Weller states. This instrument has no reference to either Migma or Sinfonia.
Other workshops made octagonal trumpets under the Sinfonia name, some are only marked Sinfonia, without a maker.
A 1961 GDR catalog shows an octagonal trumpet, in luxury version. It has gold lacquer in the bell and on the bows. The catalog ("Alles für den Musikkfreund") was issued by the Grosshandelskontor (GHB) für Kulturwaren in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz). The GHB was a new wholesale organisation in the socialist GDR that existed as of 1960.
catalog issued by GHG Karl-Markx-Stadt, 1961, source: Ebay 2016
Erhard Sawatzki's dodecagonal trumpetss
Erhard Sawatzki (03.08.1924) was educated at the A.K. Wunderlich shop from 1939 till 1942 and worked there till April 1963. He worked as in independent instrument maker from 1963 till 1990, being a member of Sinfonia, where his workshop had the number 4, as a prefix to their serial number. He made trombones, trumpets, flugelhorns, cornets, tenor and french horns in different models, some 2000 instruments all together. His specialty were dodecagonal trumpets, with bell, valve caps and tubes 12-sided.
Erhard Sawatzki, Sinfonia, 'Made in GDR', after 1963, before 1985 serial number 4 260, valve block marked X5230 coll. Gerard Westerhof.
Erhard Sawatzki SAMA Sinfonia after 1963, coll.Gerard Westerhof
Sawatzki, like Wunderlich, also made octagonal trombones.
Vega, an American maker of musical instruments from Boston, made a octagonal trumpet as well. Model Hi-voice, serial number 40143, refurbished in 2012 dates probably from around 1950. Vega started in brass production with the aqcuisition Standard Band Instrument Company of Boston in 1909. The Vega trumpets and cornets were popular with jazz artists as well as the later big bands and solo artists such as Miles Davis; they enjoyed a comfortable niche in the professional market. However, producing handcrafted professional horns without keeping an eye to the increasing demand for student instruments, the company dropped their horn production to concentrate on their stringed instrument sales. In 1970 Vega was bought by C.F. Martin.
Vega Hi-Voice, sr.nr. 40143 coll. Robert Adams, Atlanta US
On Horn-u-copia.net there's a Vickers Octagon, with serial number 2025. The seller dated it between 1925 and 1935. The origin is unclear. One possibility is that it was imported by J.J. Vickers and Sons, who early into the 20th century had become the principal importer of musical instruments in the UK, offering everything except pianos. But that's just a wild guess.
A Couesnon Bb/C trumpet with hexagonal valve slide knobs, valve bottoms and 5 ridges on the valve casings and a art-deco'ish geometrical design on the bell. The valve casings remind of Bohland & Fuchs.
Couesnon Paramount, serial number 5225, valve caps marked 34, 35, 36 source: Ebay.fr 2014
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy, Paris
Also from France is this trumpet from Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy, with dodecagonal valve casings and a lot of hexagonal details. It's named Hot Jazz Queen.
The company is located at 58bis Rue Reamur, which could date the trumpet at 1932 or later.
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy, Hot Jazz Queen, valves numbered 10,11,12, source ebay.fr
A similar trumpet is engraved Nicholson's Special Jazz and was sold in 2017 through ebay.fr.
Nicholson's Special Jazz, valves numbered 7,8,9, source ebay.fr
Besson International sr. nr 128961
A Besson trumpet with fluted casings and hexagonal valve caps. Not a very clear picture but art deco engravings on the rimless bell.
A trumpet with ten sided valve casings, caps an bottoms and other hexagonal details is named Atlantic Special with on the bell the inscription Weihnachten (Christmas) 1937 and a removed inscription that the seller supposes was a nazi reference.
Atlantic Special Weihnachten 1937 source Ebay.de 2017
Then there are the unidentified octagonal trumpets. The first one, owned by Dieter Grosche, has similarities to the Markneukirchen trumpets.
anonymous octagonal trumpet, coll. Dieter Grosche, Dusseldorf
Another no name trumpet, richly decorated. Valve caps hinting on Markneukirchen, as does the mouthpiece that goes with it (not necessarily original).
anonymous trumpet, mouthpiece marked SONDER A M Sch KLASSE, source Ebay.de 2016
The University of Edinburgh suspects it's octagonal trumpet to be 'possibly German, ca 1950'.
anonymous, coll. Edinburgh University
An octagonal bell trumpet with hexagonal valve block/caps/bottoms
anonymous, offered for sale on Marktplaats.nl 2017
And an octagonal trumpet that's owned by Richard Jereb, Vienna. The octagonal form has been consequently continued in different parts, like the caps of the water-keys (made of copper, not brass), junction rods, all pipe junctions. Also the finger ring and the handles of the slides are octagonal. No makers name or whatsoever, only an 1 on the middle valve casing. A stylized violin key on the tuning slide. Valve casings resemble Kühnl & Hoyer although the owner doesn't believe it could be West-Germany. The combination of brass and nickel silver means it's not older than 1970, according to Mario Weller, who's also convinced it's not Markneukirchen made.
A hexagonal bell and hexagonal valve casings and caps are distinct features of a trumpet that's branded Swing. Swing is believed to be a trade name of Steenhuysen, a brass manufacturing company in Brussels. Pierre Steenhuysen worked for Mahillon before he started his own workshop in 1926. His grandson bought Mahillon in 1970. The bell isn't hexagonal till the end, there's a saxophone player engraved on the bell. Steenhuysen made a Wonder model trumpet, and used similar hexagonal valve caps and bottoms and a rimless bell on other models/instruments, like the Swing Special.
Swing, serial nr. 11408, coll. Peter Ros
Source: Ebay 2014
A trumpet marked Wonder Super, round (rimless) bell with hexagonal valve casings, ferrules, valve caps and bottoms. Most probably from Belgium; Horn-u-copia lists a Wonder Super trombone engraved 'Fabrication Artistique'. Collector Peter Willemsen believes that Wonder Super aalso was a tradename of Steenhuysen.
Almost the same trumpet was sold under the name J van Dorpe, Courtrai (Kortrijk) also in Belgium. The main difference is the spin. It's engraved Model Wonder Professional.
De Prins Super
The hexagonal valve casings are also found on trumpets from Belgian maker De Prins from Antwerp. The De Prins Super trumpet features these hexagonal valve casings. De Prins and later Gebr. De Prins (brothers De Prins) were located in Antwerp, as of 1901. The brothers took over after WWI. Gebr. De Prins had a complete Super line of instruments. The company existed until 1980.
De Prins Super, gebreveteerd sr.nr. 17861, Antwerpen België source: Peter Willemsen
De Prins Gebrs Grote Prijs, Gouden Medaille Antwerpen België Super model 1950 gebreveteerd sr.nr. 13357 source: Ebay.de 2014
Other trumpets with hexagonal valve casings
Eugen Schuster, Markneukirchen
The University of Edinburgh has a Eugen Schuster Aristrocrat trumpet with a hexagonal valve block. Eugen Schuster was a trader in Markneukirchen, trading instruments under his trade mark Majestic Aristocrat and also Buescher and Selmer instruments. He built saxophones, between ca 1937-1951, but no brass instruments.
This Majestic Aristocrat engraved trumpet also has a rimless bell. It has serial number 476 and a small anchor below the serial number indicating Bohland & Fuchs as maker of at least the valve block. The number 476 is also found on the upper and bottom valve caps, the hexagonal valve casings are numbered 1,2,3. Under spring valves, octagonal valve caps and hexagonal valve buttons.
The pinky ring and spin are resembling the Arigra. HUC features an Eugen Schuster Majestic Aristocrat with a different brace, stating that Schuster was a dealer from 1928-1932. The New Langwill Index lists Schuster as being active between 1925 and 1932.
The Majestic Aristocrat also came in a version with fluted casings, like the above mentioned Bohland & Fuchs instruments. This B&F instrument has serial number 491.
Eugen Schuster Majestic Aristocrat source Ebay.de 2015
And this Schuster Majestic Aristocrat has fluted casings, serial 780 but no B&F anchor
Boosey and Hawkes New Century
A trumpet with hexagonal valves, valve caps and bottoms, an edgy pinky ring and lightning flash braces. The engraving says New Century Boosey & Hawkes Ltd 295 Regent Street, London W 1. Probably made in the 1930's (in any case after the merger of Boosey and Hawkes in 1930). It does not have the normal, and well documented B&H serial number. Nor are the valves numbered (with the serial) as they normally are on instruments from this company. In 2012 a British seller of a New Century has contacted Bradley Strauchen, a curator at the Horniman Museum where they keep all the B&H records, they have been unable to find any direct reference to the instrument at all and no trace of its manufacture. They both felt that it looked similar to models being produced in Czechoslovakia in the early thirties. Conn in the US had also brought out a tight wrap trumpet at this time so it was a bit of a fashion thing. They also felt that the date of manufacture is almost certainly the 1930's.
Then there's one other famous art deco trumpet from the thirties that has to be mentioned, the Conn 40b Vocabell, produced between 1932 and 1941 by Conn in Elkhart, USA. Octagonal valve casings, and many of them have a fine art deco engraving.
Conn 40B Vocabell, 1932 sr.nr. 287706
Another trumpet known for it's art deco engraving is the King Silvertone. Here's one from the early thirties.
King Silvertone sr.nr.: 157.xxx ca 1933
If you have any more information about the Arigra or other hexagonal, octagonal or dodecagonal trumpets, or have comments, corrections, suggestions or picture submissions, if you feel any content is in violation of copyright, or for information regarding this site's content, please contact me
Although Anton Riedl is best known for his octagonal Arigra trumpets, he made other instruments as well.There are not many of Riedl's instruments known to be around, but there's quite a variety. Some examples:
Czortków is a Polish village: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czortk%C3%B3w_uprising
Arigra top action rotary valve Bb trumpet with A valve source ebay.de 2015
G.Dullat Der Musikinstrumentenbau und die Musikfachschule in Graslitz von den Anfangen bis 1945
The New Langwill Index
Ebay and the rest of the internet