Quinticlave (Tenor Ophicleide) in Eb by Halary
Halari (Jean Hilaire Asté) is well known as the inventor of the "ophicleide" family, expanding on the popular British keyed bugle. Developed between 1815 and 1817 and patented in 1821, this family consisted of clavi-tube (keyed bugle in C or Bb), quinti-clave (tenor or alto ophicleide in F or Eb) and ophicleide (bass in C or Bb). By the time that this instrument was made in 1836, Asté had retired and Jean Louis Antoine had taken over the Halari shop and name. The above historical information comes from "The New Langwill Index".
This restoration project, while very time consuming, was fairly straightforward. The solder under the tonehole chimneys was in good condition for an apparently deteriorated instrument, although about half of them were leaking and it's not always possible to tell without taking them off. The key axle screws and bearings were all steel and very rusty, making removal extremely difficult. Happily, all but two were re-usable. Most of the existing brass key springs were serviceable, although a number of them had been replaced in the past. Three needed replacing. Visible in the last five photos are numerous hairline cracks in the body of this instrument. This is inevitable in instruments that have spent many decades in humid environments and hopefully, with care in the future, this deterioration will progress more slowly. For pads, I used those intended for modern saxophones. While not identical to the originals, they are very similar and don't involve modifying key cups or chimneys to install properly. Another procedure outside of my expertise involves winding the mouthpipe shank with linen string to fit the receiving end of the instrument snugly. This is also the only tuning slide, so it must be a pretty good fit and the receiver isn't cylindrical. This seems quite crude compared to well fitting tuning slide tubes that I am accustomed to on even the earliest valve instruments that I've worked on.
Not surprisingly, the end result of this restoration is a very good playing instrument made by a high quality maker. I have worked on very few instruments made before the 1840s and it is interesting to note that this plays at a pitch very close to A=440Hz. The vast majority of brass instruments made during the 19th century play at the high band pitch, about A=452Hz, but most from the earlier part of this century are pitched lower. Of course, many were shortened to play in the band, but this rare survivor is intact, missing only the mouthpiece. It is also very rare that a maker's mark includes a date as seen here. I do often see, on French instruments, numbers similar to those on the back side of the bell. These likely indicate a military unit and/or inventory numbers.