Howard Reynolds' Schuster Cornet
This cornet would not warrant much attention aside from the player's name engraved below the maker's marks. In fact this instrument had spent several decades serving as a decorative base for an electric lamp. The lamp owner decided to Google the name "Howard Reynolds" and discovered that there was a well known cornetist with that name. In fact, Reynolds was London's leading cornet soloist from the time that Jules Levy left in 1875. His professional career started in the mid-1860s at the age of 16 and continued until his death in 1898 and was most closely associated with the Covent Gardens Promenade Concerts. His career was busy and wide ranging, including a season in the US in 1880. The name doesn't prove ownership, but there is a small amount of evidence pointing in that direction. As always, I invite any additional facts regarding Mr. Reynolds and this cornet. With what I have, it is difficult to calculate the likelihood that this was his instrument and will have to be speculative for now. My judgement is that the chances are about 40%, but could justifiably placed lower or higher. I present this for both entertainment and to increase of knowledge.
Aside from the name, the time and place are the only supporting evidence. This cornet was made by Schuster & Sohne or Schuster & Co (the name of the company after 1881) some time after the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876 and was likely made before Reynolds' death in 1898. It could have been made after that date, although this style of cornet was soon out of fashion. Schuster, located in Markneukirchen, Saxony, did a thriving export business to the US as well as Britain. They produced a wide range of models, copying what was popular regionally. This is somewhat of a copy of a Courtois Levy or Arbuckle model. With a bore of .460", it is more like the Arbuckle Courtois. The last image to the left below is a photograph of Howard Reynolds that appeared in The Strand Musical Magazine in 1897, towards the end of his life, holding a very similar cornet. Like most top soloists of his generation, he was known to play a Courtois cornet and I believe that is what he is holding here. There appears to be a shield and engraving (Riche or Demi-Riche decoration from Courtois) very similar to Levi's. In this article, he was asked what sort of cornet he played and he replied that it was an ordinary instrument other than being of large bore. He also states that he normally plays in "French pitch" and indicates that this is lower than the more common pitch level. In the photo, he is using the A shank with a high pitched tuning slide, which seems to be a common practice for the soloists that played in low pitch Bb. I discuss this further on my page featuring Mathew Arbuckle's cornet. While this Schuster cornet may have belonged to a different Howard Reynolds, it is likely that he was courted for his endorsement by the makers or sellers. The fact that "London" is the first name stamped on the bell indicates that Schuster had opened a London branch of their company, perhaps just for sales, but possibly with a workshop to support this enterprise. It would make sense that Schuster would have wanted the public endorsement of the top local cornetists. I haven't found any further evidence for this London shop and I suspect that it was short lived.