Post Horn by Graves & Co., Winchester, New Hampshire
Graves and Company was the first US firm to produce wind instruments in quantity, starting the 1820s. This Bb post horn was made about 1845 and has three double piston valves. This sort of valve was popular in Germany and Eastern Europe in the very early years of valve brass instruments and continues to be used today with side action levers in the famous Vienna Horns. What was known as a post horn in the US was directly copied from small trumpets made in Europe where one was often called a "trompetino". They were often made with rotary valves in Europe, but none made in the US of that style are known. This style of very small bore (.360") valved instrument had a very short tenure in the US along side the keyed bugle and quickly died out due to the popularity of the larger and louder cornets and Saxhorns which were introduced at about this time. A Graves alto with the same mechanism can be seen elsewhere on this site.
This restoration was a challenge due to the extensive damage and deterioration of the metal. Numerous cracks had already been soldered over and needed very careful repairs. The result of the restoration is a highly collectible and very rare early American made instrument. There are only seven post horns in Bb, C and Eb by Graves known to have survived along with eight others, one by former Graves partner Samuel Richardson of Rochester, NY and the others by the Boston makers E.G. Wright and J.L Allen. The owner of this instrument is Steven Ward.