"4 in 1" Cornet by Conn & Dupont
Charles Gerard Conn was a cornet player that had gone into the business of making rubber rim mouthpieces that he had patented in 1875. In 1876, he met up with an instrument maker Eugene Dupont and together they developed and patented the "Four in One" model cornet. This example was made after the patent was granted in January of 1878. It was designed to play in Eb, C, Bb and A which pretty much covered all the pitches in which cornets were commonly played in brass bands, church orchestras, social orchestras and home parlors. All of this was carried in a normal size cornet case.
From the very start, Conn had the flair of a showman and his instruments were intended to be impressive and he succeeded in making them of a very high quality as well. His instruments were elaborately engraved and the silver plating was thick and durable. Even the cases were made of varnished walnut rather than the much more common painted pine box. He did make some less expensive instruments in the early years, but judging by the fact that we find very few of them in collections today, he was more successful in selling the better grade. The partnership of Conn and Dupont broke up in 1879 but by that time the brand was established, the work force was trained and Conn went on to become the largest band instrument manufacturer in the world.
This is an impressively well preserved example of this model that is also an excellent playing cornet. The silver plating is mostly intact and it hadn't been damaged badly in it's past. The serial number, 527, dates it fairly early in production of this model and about half way through the life of the Conn and Dupont partnership. It retains it's original walnut case, Eb shank, crooks for C and Bb, bit for the Bb crook and A shank to extend the Bb crook to that pitch. The mouthpiece pictured is a much later example by Conn. Of course it plays in the high pitch used in most US bands at the time. The length of this cornet is 12 5/8", the bell rim diameter is 4 13/16" and the bore measures .454". Another very similar cornet is shown in my restoration pages.