Boston Circular Eb Soprano
This is another from Steve Ward's growing collection of important American brass instruments. It is the only known example of a circular Eb soprano valve bugle (flugelhorn or saxhorn) made by The Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory. These are illustrated in the 1869 Boston catalog, but nobody had seen one until this surfaced. They were going out of fashion by the time that it was made; their heyday was for about 10 years starting in the early 1850s. This is a simplified version of the circular sopranos that had been made by E.G. Wright during that time. After the Boston signature, the engraving reads "Late E.G. Wright & Co. Boston", which seems only to have been included for the first year or two of the new company. There is a Wright from the earlier era that I feature elsewhere on this site. Styles were changing and the more modern cornet style instruments were quickly taking the place of these. The proportions of this instrument are not quite as pleasing to my eye as most earlier circular instruments, which tend to be some of my favorites. This instrument had been taken apart for repairs previously, and it is possible that the damage and repairs have left the curved tubing a bit distorted.
Removing the dents from the curved tubing was the biggest challenge in this restoration, partially due to some extremely thin areas, presumably caused by excessive removal of metal during the previous repairs. Once back together, however, it is a beautiful instrument and an excellent player. As in other Wright and Boston Eb soprano valve bugles and cornets from this era, the bore size is .422" and bell rim diameter is 4 1/2".