Eb Cornet by Conn & Dupont
This early Conn and Dupont Eb cornet (serial number 475) was probably made in 1877 or early 1878. This young partnership, which had just started in 1876, concentrated most of their efforts on building the successful "Four in One Cornet" but were also quickly adding a complete line of brass instruments to their catalog.
This is a fairly conventional Eb cornet compared to the clever Four in One and also very similar to the smaller bore instrument that Conn continued in production until about 1915. The indication of "Superior Class" would lead one to believe that this was the most deluxe line of instruments supplied by Conn, but indeed, the Four in One, Vocal and Artist cornets were all more expensive than this and presumably in a more superior class. That aside, it appears to be a very high quality cornet and in spite of worn valves, is a very good playing instrument.
The engraving, while somewhat artistic and elaborate, is not of the high quality seen on more expensive Conn instruments of that time. It was probably still executed by Jake Gardiner, but I suspect that he didn't spend much time on it. The "23" stamped on the bell was certainly added later and I have no idea what it meant. The silver plating is original, though worn. The patented rubber rim mouthpiece is from the era but not original and the tuning mouthpipe is a reproduction of the original.
The overall length is 12 5/8" the bell diameter is 4 9/16" and the bore measures .457". It is interesting that the bore measurement is close to my Four in One cornet that was made within a year of this, but not the same at .454". It is certainly possible that the makers found it important to tool up for each instrument with what they determined to be optimal measurements, but another possibility is that they were purchasing drawn tubing from other makers in sizes that were available. This cornet stayed in the family of the original owner until very recently when finances necessitated selling it.