Conn-Queror Vocabell Pocket Trumpet
This pocket version of the Conn Connqueror Trumpet With Vocabell is in some ways the antithesis of its original form, being that it is short and stubby rather than long and sleek. I chose this model for this project for its high style Streamline Moderne design features, including the engraving. The best examples, like this one, had the Pan Piper engraved on the bell flare. The original trumpet had been hanging in my shop for about a decade and while mostly complete, it was damaged badly enough that it was a "parts horn" and not worth restoring. The valve casings on this model are shorter than more conventional trumpets and my goal was to make it as short in length as possible (7 7/8" without the mouthpiece) without loosing either design features or acoustical performance. What was lost, however, was any convenient way of holding on to the trumpet with the left hand. Also, I wasn't able to incorporate the original lyre mount which was a unique streamline design that was used only on the Vocabell trumpets and cornets. I did reuse the unique original bevelled third slide ring by mounting in on a flange to fit the crook instead of the straight tube. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any photographs before starting or during the work so I've included the original illustration from Conn's catalogue.
The valve casings and pistons were badly damaged so they were plated and refit. The process of bending the bell stretched and thinned the engraving which all but disappeared on the curved portion. The bell was sent to Elkhart, Indiana for Sherry Huntley at Artistic Engraving to re-engrave. The balance of the engraving is original and in excellent shape. To make the instrument even more compact, I cut the bell rim diameter from the original 4 1/2" to 4". The original engraved design seems to run off the edge of the bell and I carefully chose the point where I could cut without changing the character of the design. I decided to make an adaptor for cornet mouthpiece in the same design idiom as the mouthpiece receiver since I was expecting this instrument to end up in the collection of Nick DeCarlis of PocketCornets.com. Visit this website for a headspinning array of instruments pictured and order his book for the last word on them. After mounting the parts and polishing, it was sent to Elkhart for a third time for masking, bead blasting and plating including gold inside the bell. This was all done to a very high level at Anderson Silver Plating. I am very happy with the results and consider it a success. Nick DeCarlis reports that it is the loudest playing of his pocket instruments and that's just what Conn was claiming for the Vocabell trumpets and cornets in the 1930s.
The second to last photo on the left is another, almost identical trumpet, Vocalina, that I put together more recently (July, 2014) for Markus Ellecosta, of Italy.
Wait, there's more: The very last photo shows the most recent of these projects. This one was made from a 48B Connqueror model trumpet for Stanton Haugen of Honolulu, Hawaii, the taller valve section making the whole trumpet taller. With less extreme bends to make and perfectly preserved engraving, this trumpet was a much easier project to complete. Keeping the bell diameter the full 4 5/8" and making the overall length 8 3/8" have pleasing proportions and also make it easier to hold and manipulate the first valve slide. Stanton calls this one "Vocalisa".