Boston "Pre-Star" Cornets

For the title of this page, I made up a name for this cornet of unknown model designation.  At the time that I originally added this page to my website it was the only one known, but since then two more have surfaced.  I believe that these pre-date the introduction of the One, Two and Three Star model cornets described elsewhere and was probably made about 1875 or 1877 at the latest.   My theory is that this model is the first appearance of the largest bore, .487" in a Boston cornet and shares the same valve section with  the earliest Two Star and Three Star model cornets.  Before I had carefully examined it, I had assumed that it would shed light on which bell design came first, the Two Star or the Three Star or that it might have a bell similar to those, but a "missing link" between the earlier Boston cornets and the Star models.  In fact, once I had it for examination, I found that the bell is very different from any of those and only demonstrates a unique instrument that Boston was making at that time.  While the bell flare is very similar to many others made by Boston, Courtois and Besson, the taper through the smaller portion of the bell is uncharacteristically large.  I was fully expecting that this unusual design would result in acoustical problems in intonation, response or the like, but it does seem to be quite a good player including intonation and evenness of response.   I can only assume that this transitional design was abandoned, not for lack of utility, but rather in favor of the two more conventional bell designs that are far more commonly seen.  I suspect that this model was only offered for a year or a little more.  These cornets are made of nickel silver, the length of the piston valve versions, without mouthpiece is 12 13/16" (the rotary version is about 3/8" shorter) and the bell rim diameter is 4 9/16".

The third photo on the left shows a photo of two examples of this model that are almost identical.  The next photo shows the bell engraving.  The one on the right shows that "Ne Plus Ultra" was added to the Boston signature.  This is likely the first use of this legend on a Boston cornet, after this model was introduced, but continued to be used on all of the "Star" models afterwards.


The fifth photo shows a rotary valve version of this same model, not surprising, since all of the earliest Boston piston valve cornets had rotary valve equivalents.  It is in the same form as the Boston Band and Orchestra Models and those made by E.G. Wright since about 1863.  Notice that this one also has the Latin phrase in the engraving.   


The photo below is a line up of Boston cornets, this featured example first.   The second is the earliest known piston valve Three Star cornet that may have been made a year or two later.  The third is a nickel silver Two Star from about 1882 and the last is Three Star from about 1900.