Trumpets in C/D by Jerome Thibouville-Lamy and Reynold O. Schilke

I have written about the development of the modern trumpet elsewhere on this site, expressing what I know and my views on the subject.  As long winded as that essay is, there is much more historical detail to the story and here I'm presenting three important trumpets, two of which are intimately a part of it.  

French trumpeter Merri Franquin (1848-1932) had a substantial role in the transition from the long trumpets in F to those in Bb and higher and especially the use of the C trumpet in the 20th century orchestra.  It would be difficult to overstate his importance resulting from his method books and other writings.  He taught trumpet at the Paris Conservatoire from 1894 until 1925, directly influencing a generation of trumpet players and, thus, students of those players.  His successor in the late 20th century, Pierre Thibaud, rediscovered the importance of Franquin's method and brought it back to prominence.  In his excellent dissertation on Franquin's life and career, Geoffrey Shamu presents a very complete picture of this man and much of the information that I'm presenting here has been taken from it.  

In the 1880s, Franquin realized that he could utilize an ascending valve, raising the pitch a whole tone, to correct some of the intonation problems and facilitate trills and had an instrument made for his own use.  This wasn't a new idea and is seen in some cornets from the 1850s, such as one, also in C/D by B.F. Richardson, featured elsewhere on this site.  

It wasn't until 1912, that he was able to interest the Parisian maker, Jerome Thibouvill-Lamy, in designing and making such an instrument for him and that company was granted a patent on March 19, 1913. This maker had previously designed and put into production, a three valve C trumpet in collaboration with Franquin after 1905.  This trumpet's bell, being smaller than those on contemporary cornets, resulted in a brighter tone that Franquin and others considered a better replacement for the old F trumpets than the Bb cornets that were commonly used in the orchestras at the time.  

Interestingly, the later instrument illustrated here is the same as in the patent diagram, with the fourth valve situated between the tuning slide and third valves.  This instrument was probably made in the mid to late 1920s while the example with the fourth valve incorporated in the tuning slide assembly is older and likely made about the time of a second patent, applied for in 1916 and issued to Thibouville-Lamy for a five valve trumpet in 1921.  The later design included the whole step, ascending valve in the tuning slide assembly along with a fifth valve adjacent to the third valve, that lowered the pitch by a step and a half.  The fifth valve was intended to enable the trumpet player to use the C trumpet in performances of pieces that were written for the trumpet in F or Eb, with the lowest note being the Eb, not available on the three valve trumpet in C.  

The fifth valve didn't seem to enjoy much popularity, but several very important orchestral players did use the trumpet in C with ascending fourth valve.  The silver plated trumpet in the fourth and fifth photos to the left was one of two that belonged to Roger Voisin and used extensively in the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He was a member of that great trumpet section from 1935 until 1973.  When Voisin was moved from first to third chair, he was told that he was over-playing and dominating the section.  He had to switch to a Bach C trumpet like the rest of the trumpet section was using.   Orchestras in the US were moving from the brighter sound that they were previously accustomed to, to the darker, Teutonic sound that we are now familiar with.  

This trumpet is now owned by Mike Zonshine.  After graduating from Boston University, it was offered to Mike by Roger Voisin.  He eventually took the offer while attending Eastman School of Music.  Mike is still friends with Roger's son, Peter, who was also very helpful with information for this article.  

The gold plated trumpet in the first three photos had been a part of Renold Schilke's personal collection, although nobody knows if he used it in performances or how long he owned it.  More likely, Schilke understood the significance of this instrument and owned it for that reason.  The seventh and eighth photos are of a trumpet made by Schilke in the late 1970s.  This trumpet is also in C with the fourth valve a whole step ascending.  This design was never offered for sale and this trumpet remained in Schilke's personal collection.  After Schilke's death, it was part of another trumpet player's collection until being sold more recently to Boyde Hood, former Los Angeles Philharmonic trumpet player.  

Schilke's Thibouville C/D trumpet is also now part of Boyde's collection of important orchestral trumpets and retains the original plain tuning slide allowing it to be used as a standard D trumpet.  In addition, I constructed a longer tuning side for straight C.  The two older instruments are of the same design aside from the fourth valve position: overall length 16 1/8", bell rim diameter 4 1/2" and bore measuring .443".  The Schilke is 18 3/4" long, bell rim diameter 5 1/16" and bore .453".  

The last photo is a copy of the Thibouville--Franquin trumpet made by Kanstul Musical Instruments.  This is a very close copy of the original, retaining the playing qualities.  The trigger mechanisms were added by me for Steve Charpie, the owner of this instrument.