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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:40 pm 
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I wonder if it is a scam from Russia? What a Beauty!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251533556632?ss ... 1423.l2649

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:03 pm 
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Oh, my! :boggle: Are they emptying out the back vaults of the Kremlin? :D

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:15 pm 
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99.9% sure it is a scam. The white background reminds me of the Christie's catalogue. I Googled the flute and Christie's and got this:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/musi ... tails.aspx
Not exactly the same, but I think the "seller" just lifted the image from the net. You would expect a rare $15K flute to be sold through an auction house like Christie's, not through ebay, with no reserve, from a person with no selling history, in Russia. All that is missing is the letter of authenticity from the president of Nigeria.


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 12:54 am 
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We just have to go to CSI and find out who's reflection is in the blue crown... :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:00 am 
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It looks like a Russian with a beard and white lab coat to me... You can clearly see that he is smiling! :D

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:05 am 
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The window he is sitting in front of, looks like it could be France, he is on a second floor. Really is a amazing image reflecting in the blue crown!

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:37 am 
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On further evacuation, it looks like a pretty blond sitting at table, she looked French.

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:43 am 
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The missus wants to know if the blonde is the one with the beard. . .and braided armpits!

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 1:56 am 
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The descriptive text is lifted from here: http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Exhibitions/Bee ... flute.html

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 2:55 am 
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Since the NMM is in Vermillion, SD, perhaps the Ebay seller was confused and meant Moscow, Idaho. . . .

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 4:35 am 
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eBay and PayPal at least provide some transaction protection should it be a scam. So I went ahead and bid on it and also asked the seller a question. Good to jump in and try if its legit. And if I don't get it but someone here does, perhaps I could sometime borrow it to add its data to my other data. I suspect I will be outbid soon - especially it is legit. Its an odd one to come up with if fraudulent. I'll run it all by PayPal and eBay before I send any money.

It does have the eBay buyer protection plan, as do all eBay transactions. Also the detail photos are unique - and not any that I have seen searching online. Even the photograph of the flute in the case is unique to the eBay listing. I suspect that it is legit.

I have been researching these flutes and saw the collection at the Library of Congress last November, and measured one of the simpler 4 keyed flutes. I wish I could post detailed photos from that trip online but I am not allowed to. Museum rules (this is not the only place where this applies - its becoming a new standard, Homeland Security is partly to blame).

These are interesting instruments, showing a great deal of thought in their manufacturing while revealing some of the processes used. My visit was timed to coincide with another researcher besides the curator, who are both working on some conservation issues with these. We were able to look at striae (bubbles) in the glass, scratches in the bore left from the tool grinding to achieve bore profile, etc.

One observation that we made was that while sitting with the finger holes facing straight up for a century or more, the bodies have possibly sagged so that the bore and outside is oval in cross section. This was measurable even with the teflon digital calipers that I was using, and consistent from flute to flute. They were a bit alarmed by this until I suggested that they rotate them 90 degrees and store them this way for the next 100 years!

Another observation made was all the bling added to these. Emeralds and rubies and cut crystals added to the keys and end cap. I am reminded of one modern maker who does an amber end cap insert. This can be tastefully done but on the Laurent flutes, its kind of like adding lipstick to a pig. Just from what I could observe about the embouchures and finger holes (especially the spacing etc) my hunch is that the underlying flute design was rather amateurish and poorly developed. Another maker whose opinions I respect once stated that he felt that in general about these flutes. The later glass flutes by Laurent's apprentice borrowed their scaling and key systems from the Boehm -inspired designs. Until I derive kind of a "standard" scaling etc. and copy that in wood, I won't know this for certain.

On my bucket list is to make some glass flutes myself. This being near Seattle with Dale Chihuli and other famous glass artists. I am actually working with a nearby lens maker who is tooled up to do this. It would be good to have an in-house example, should we decide to make one based on an original. Unfortunately I have been way too busy making Folk Flutes for the world to do anything about it (another reason why I raised my prices for these).

Casey

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:45 am 
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Haven't looked at the listing, so have no idea whether it is a scam or not, but from the previous posts I'd be wary. In fact even if the seller had a long list of positive sales and responses it could be a scam. There is a fair history of scam artists hijacking legitimate accounts (though usually there is some kind of "tell" where the ad wants you to send money outside the e-bay system), and just today there was an article in the paper on how e-bay got massively infiltrated and may have lost account and password security.

On the other hand, as a former off hand, hot glass artist who has flirted with making glass instruments, I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to pull a tapered tube with a consistent crossection. Typically one pulls a hollow tube horizontally using one solid steel rod with a glass prunt and the other side a blow pipe with a bubble of thick walled hot glass. An assistant takes the rod (punty) with the prunt, the two ends get stuck together, then pulled apart while blowing into the pipe end and flipping the pipe and punty as simultaneously as possible to keep the glass from sagging too much. This elongates and thins the glass, most often with some kind of taper, but is very difficult to control and keep symmetrical. The glass tubing should have shown signs of long oval inclusions, if any bubbles were present at all. If there were round bubbles in the glass, then it would be more likely that the tubes were cast in some fashion and then drilled and tapered mechanically.

My guess is that the Laurent glass was pulled vertically rather than horizontally, to allow gravity to assist, and then a selection of tubes to use was made from a large stock of blanks. It is a bit tough to describe, but here is a video of some folks who are pulling short lengths of vertical tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7eIXA2dsxY. Typically I would have annealed (slowly cooled to relieve the stress from thermal shock) this type of tube, but the process is similar, though without the second pipe used to pull longer sections of tubing. Due to the rather inevitable ovaling of the tube, I would also assume that little post processing was done to the interior walls (after all they would have been extremely smooth from the tube pulling process), though it certainly would be possible to abrasively ream out a few mm then polish it back out. Were the scratches from grinding that you saw located in the sockets and tenons, or in the body of the flute? Were they circumferential or longitudinal? Could they have been from use of cleaning rods over the years?

As far as the whole glass flowing at room temperatures over centuries of time passes, that is certainly a debatable topic. Please reference this article from the Corning Museum of Glass for more detail: http://www.cmog.org/article/does-glass-flow. There have been similar articles debunking the whole "flowing glass at room temperatures" in the American Journal of Physics and from quite prominent glass chemists. I think it is much more likely that the glass flute makers simply chose to put the flat sections of the oval tubes in line with the toneholes to be bored, which would have made that operation easier. This is also what leads me to the theory that little post grinding may have been done on the bores as that would have been more difficult, but not impossible to do with an oval tube crossection.

Just my guesses however, so YMMV.


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 8:44 am 
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Ebay has policies that nobody gets paid until the item is delivered and the customer reports it so. And if it never shows up in the time specified eBay refunds the purchase. They have tightened up their policies a bunch. Even though the seller has 0 eBay sales, I am willing to believe its legit as none of the many photos he used are anywhere else on the Internet. The listing text he may have lifted, simply as an easy and clear translation. And if others are suspicious - they'll avoid bidding and perhaps I'll get the find of the decade.

Most likely these glass flutes were cast solid or with a core box made from graphite for the initial bore although they could theoretically been dipped over the core. The few bubbles we saw in the glass were elongated and that could happen with both processes. If it was cast as a solid it could then be trepanned with a rotating copper tube and abrasive slurry as is still done in making telescope mirrors. Finally a rotating copper or cast iron tool the shape of the bore along with a slurry is used to grind out the bore. The outside is then ground while the piece is rotated between centers. Its actually a fairly simple concept. On the ones we were examining microscopically at 50X with a very nice scope with video screen, one could see the bore grinding scratches through the finger holes. It was helpful to have a flute maker's eye there - these look similar to the scratches left behind by reamers and these could be measured to determine the grit size.

For modern reproductions I can get temperable glass cast to any dimension I want, with or without a pilot bore generated by a core box. We were thinking of some glass flutes in vintage Coca Cola color glass, or possibly an obsidian like glass, just translucent enough. Am hoping we have something keyless to show the world by the end of the year, based on my Standard pattern. I would also like to make some faithful to Laurent copies.

Casey

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:24 am 
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There's a recording of a Laurent glass flute in action: http://www.amazon.com/Madisons-Crystal- ... B000A896VG
I picked it up in the gift shop at either Jefferson's or Madison's house in Virginia years ago, and it's a very nice recording, using James Madison's flute (and historically appropriate guitars) and recorded in his living room. (I don't think Madison played flute--the instrument was a gift from a French emissary or head of state, which says something about how they were perceived at the time.)


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:29 am 
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an seanduine wrote:
The missus wants to know if the blonde is the one with the beard. . .and braided armpits!

Bob

Deffently French armpits...

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