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Echo Bell Cornets

Echo Bell cornets were made from the late 19th century until the immediate post-WW1 era. They were unique in that they had a fourth piston valve, and a second bell, which tapered in the opposite direction as compared to the main bell. When the airflow was redirected to the second bell (by depressing the fourth valve) a muted effect was achieved, not unlike that resulting from the use of a metal Harmon-style mute. Typically the echo bells were "attachments" which were removable, so the horn could be held and played conventionally. But the fourth valve was, on most examples, a permanent part of the valve cluster itself. Nearly all makers of the time offered an echo bell model, but few were made.

At least three of us have experimented with Echo "fabrications," whereby a conventional vintage cornet is modified into an echo cornet utilizing reproduction components, all with good results, with respect to both function and aesthetics.

W. Brown & Sons (4320) c1910 collection Nick DeCarlis

F. Besson, London (35399) 1885 original echo cornet with reproduction echo bell, by Nick DeCarlis

1900 Courtois Echo Fabrication vintage/modern fabrication by Nick DeCarlis, collection John Thomas, NY

c1890 J. Higham (presumed) Echo cornet collection Nick DeCarlis

c1895 H. Lehnert Echo cornet collection Wayne Collier

1900 Conn Wonder Echo Frabrication vintage/modern fabrication by Mark Metzler

F. Besson, London (596XX) The Hal Oringer Collection

F. Besson, London vintage/modern fabrication by Jules Prosser

Boosey & Sons (14106) collection Marty Schmitt

Boosey & Sons (26386) collection Richard Schwartz

Frank Holton (2433) collection Thomas Meacham

H. Distin collection Don Johnson

c1930 C.A. Wunderlich "Jazzophon" (no serial) One of a line of saxophone-shaped trumpets made in very small numbers during the jazz age in Germany, this Jazzophon features two bells. One is conventional, while the other incorporates a permanent wah-wah mute, trigger activated. A fourth piston valve diverts the air flow from one bell to the other, which essentially makes this an "echo trumpet" but in a much different configuration than seen on any echo cornet.

2004 Indian Echo Bell Cornet reproduction, collection Angela DeCarlis

Five Echo Bell Cornets being played at
the home of Niles Eldredge, May, 2003.

(from left to right: Marty Schmitt, Jeff Stockham,
Rick Schwartz, Tom Meacham, Scott Philbrick)

Period Catalog Images






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W. Brown & Sons
Echo Cornet