It is currently Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:00 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 6:00 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Toronto
Hi,

I can’t seem to find a serial number on my Gilles LeHart flute. Does anyone know if he typically numbers his flutes?

Thanks,

Steve


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:07 pm
Posts: 63
I had one of his flutes a couple years ago and it didn't have any serial number.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Posts: 2293
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
It's interesting that a lot of the 19th century makers didn't use serial numbers either. Indeed, I suspect that the ones who did had some concrete reason to do so. For example, I imagine where there was a "celebrity endorsement", eg Prowse's "Nicholson's Improved", the agreement probably required serial numbers so that Mr Nicholson could be assured that his regular payments were up to date! Rudall and Rose possibly had a different reason, to keep track of flutes made by out-workers. We no longer have their factory records, but we do still have Rudall, Rose and Carte records, and they list the actual worker's name against the serial number.

Which raises the question, why would a modern maker put serial numbers on flutes? They are handy for tracing flutes, eg if someone breaks into your car and snitches it, you can show you owned it.

I find it useful when I get requests such as "I just bought your #nnn from a chap in London, can you tell me what model it is?" Yes, I have a sheet of paper on every flute, which runs to 5 lever-arch files!

But these are of more use to the owner than the maker. What purpose does it serve the maker? Macabre interest perhaps? That's where I spent the best years of my life?

I have to admit that I didn't put numbers on the first 200 or so of mine. Or a maker's mark. A new customer urged me to.

It would be interesting to hear from makers who do and who do not use serial numbers as to why. And from owners as to if they think they should or shouldn't. We might learn something!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:06 pm
Posts: 2772
Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Terry McGee wrote:
I have to admit that I didn't put numbers on the first 200 or so of mine. Or a maker's mark. A new customer urged me to.

It would be interesting to hear from makers who do and who do not use serial numbers as to why. And from owners as to if they think they should or shouldn't. We might learn something!

I've often wondered why a maker wouldn't put their "brand" on an instrument—cost of the equipment perhaps? The maker's mark is of use for an owner in the case where they are selling it on. An unscrupulous, or ignorant, seller might misrepresent the maker.

As far as the serial number, I can recall a very good talk with Ralph Sweet about one of his flutes that came into my hands. He checked his records and could give me, as perhaps a third-hand buyer, the provenance of the instrument. Similarly, Patrick Olwell recalled an instrument he had made in the 1990s (it had some interesting quirks) and could tell me what the bore design was and a bit about the reason for the quirks. Serial numbers also give a hint as to the date. If the maker has changed or evolved his/her design, it might be useful for a new-to-me potential purchaser down the line. Probably not necessary for either the maker or the owner, but perhaps of interest.

Them's my thoughts.

Best wishes.

Steve

_________________
"Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege."


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:57 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:15 pm
Posts: 370
I cannot find a serial number on mine, which was made/originally purchased I believe in early 2016 (I bought it secondhand in late 2016, so I'm unsure of the exact dating).


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:57 am
Posts: 40
I sadly don't haave a Gilles Lehart flute (yet) but in regard to the Olwell from the 90's with a serial number, mine made in 97/98 or so doesn't have a serial number (discernable with the human eye) and the maker's mark is extremely faint - it's there but need very good lighting to see a very thin 'OLWELL' on the foot.

Serial numbers make sense to me. It's a record. A record is data. Data can be analysed. It may or may not have value to know what proportion of flutes a maker has which were Rudall vs Pratten, or Blackwood vs Mopane, or what have you, but if I were a maker, that would interest me.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:06 pm
Posts: 2772
Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
On the Olwell I have, there is a date stamped on the top rim of the head joint. You have to remove the cap to find it. No serial number but there is the date, presumably of completion.

Best wishes.

Steve

_________________
"Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege."


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:32 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Posts: 2293
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
Steve Bliven wrote:
I've often wondered why a maker wouldn't put their "brand" on an instrument—cost of the equipment perhaps? The maker's mark is of use for an owner in the case where they are selling it on. An unscrupulous, or ignorant, seller might misrepresent the maker.Steve

I think I can probably assemble a barrage of excuses, all of which have a small ring of truth....

"The maker's mark is just a conceit." To paraphrase Burns: "The name is but the guinea's stamp, The flute's the gold for a' that".

"I had too much else on at the time." I think this one is closer to the truth. My early days (going back as far as 1974 when I conceived the notion, and 1975 when I made my first flute) were a whirlwind of discovery, carried out in splendid isolation. So many different flutes to try, so many different approaches to try, so many problems in the originals to overcome, getting them right seemed much more important than bothering with a name stamp.

"Will I be making enough flutes to warrant getting a stamp made?" Always the question, and impossible to answer! I still struggle with it. A few days back I had to order more tuning slides. Given I am now 73 years of age, how many should I order in this batch? And finding out that the chap who makes them is now 86, how many more should I order? Why is this crystal ball not working again?

"How to do it well?". I had seen so many badly stamped flutes that this was a real issue. Stamps where only one end of the name comes out clearly. Stamps that run at a quite jaunty angle to the body, or that suddenly bend upwards or downwards halfway through. Or where the second line is not parallel with the first line, such as in this fake "Rudail and Rose" here in my possession:

Image

Looking back, I'm glad my customer demanded the mark, and I've occasionally been able to add my mark to earlier flutes that came in for recorking tenons, or other maintenance. So, I come down on the side of both marks and serial numbers.


Last edited by Terry McGee on Fri Feb 12, 2021 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:50 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 369
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
And then, there are maker's marks that depend on the good graces of the flute community, the Internet, and posterity for identification. My current flute -- a very nice Thomas Aebi flute -- has that kind of mark, a tiny squiggly icon stamped on every flute joint and I have no idea what it means. Good luck, you future flute historians who try to figure out who made this flute.

I bought it secondhand so I have no customer input on why he did this, but I wish he had just put his name on it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:59 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Posts: 2293
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
Yeah, I get a lot of these from the 19th century too. Someone the other day sent me an image of a piccolo with a whole head, arms and shoulders image of a flute player playing flute on it. But I couldn't tell them who made it.

Whoops, I just realised I'd messed up that image of the fake "Rudail and Rose" logo a bit further up. Corrected.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:04 am
Posts: 1407
Location: Mercia
Maybe band instruments or instruments made in, or expected to be repaired in, a big workshop would have an identifier on all the joints to prevent them getting mixed up.

I have a late 19c microscope that has every part numbered. It came from a university laboratory where they had been kept in use until parts started failing or were broken and some mixing and matching had gone on. Despite being beautifully made the parts with ‘wrong’ numbers do not quite line up properly.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:49 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Posts: 2293
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
Quite plausible, david_h. My Boosey & Co Prattens is probably a good example....

The head says:
RS Prattens Perfected

The barrel says:
Boosey & Co
London
8626

The Body says:
Boosey & Co
24 Holles St
London

8626

RS Prattens Perfected

And the foot says:
Boosey & Co
London
8626

Given that the head and barrel probably stay together because the slides had to be mated, every section is fully identified.

Contrast that with the flutes that simply claim "Improved / London"! Or nothing.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google, Oisincooke and 10 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.551s | 14 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)