"Conic Acoustic Cornet" in Bb by George McFadden
George McFadden had set up his factory to make cornets in Syracuse, New York by 1875 although he had previously built cornets in Worcester, Massachusetts. For the story of his earlier shop see the restoration page for a McFadden and Beaumont cornet. McFadden was able to get his operation running quickly enough to exhibit at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. This cornet contains the engraved announcement that he was "Awarded Medal of Merit and Diploma of Honor". It is believed that McFadden made only a handful of cornets before this and that this is the second one made after the exhibition. It was always a small operation but managed to remain in business even after his death in 1889 by his wife and son. The design of this "Conic Acoustic Cornet" is somewhat unique in the long and very gradually tapering mouthpipe. An independent design ethic was also expressed in the look of the valve caps, braces, pull knobs and ferrules and it seems likely that all of the parts of this cornet were made within the McFadden workshop. It is of a high quality construction and seems to be a very good playing cornet as well.
The silver and gold plated finish are original and this instrument must not have seen much use. It needed no restoration work at all and retains it's original case containing all the parts that came with it: Bb and A shanks, two bits, mouthpiece and lyre. The case interior has obviously been recovered. The elaborate engraving includes grapes, vines, leaves and a bird along with more conventionalized designs covering most of the surface. This must have been an expensive instrument to have made in 1876. It is 12 1/4" long, has a bell rim diameter of 5" and the bore measures .467".