Lehnert Centennial Tuba
By the time that Henry Lehnert had been awarded a patent for his "Centennial" model instruments in 1875, he had been in the brass instrument making business for at least 10 years. It is thought that he had worked for E.G. Wright, Graves & Co., George Freemantle and was in partnership with B.F. Richardson in Boston, learning the trade before moving to Philadelphia in 1867. He would have seen these makers enter their instruments in various exhibitions and more importantly
noticed the growing importance of international exhibitions (known to us as World's Fairs in the 20th century) taking place in Europe and England. The first of these shows to be put on in the US was to being organized as a celebration of the first one hundred years of our union. Henry Lehnert designed and patented a family of military band instruments in time to be promoted during this world wide event and named them "Centennial" for the occasion. The patent covered larger instruments: tenor, baritone and bass, but he also used the name without patent specification on alto and tenor valve trombones and solo alto horns. I don't believe that I've ever seen soprano instruments with the "Centennial" name stamped on them but it would seem likely that were those as well. The main advantage of the design in the large instruments is that the weight is carried on both shoulders when in playing position with the sound projected forward. This is presumably an advantage over the helicon that sits on one shoulder only with the sound sent upwards at an angle.
This Eb bass was purchased by collector Kevin Boles in rather rough, but surprisingly complete condition. The only parts missing were the removable portion of the mouthpipe and the finger ring. I've made the mouthpipe for Kevin, but not in time for the photographs. The restoration was straightforward, but took many hours to complete.