Wright Eb Soprano Saxhorn
This E.G. Wright soprano Saxhorn in Eb was made about 1864 in Boston where Wright had long since established himself as a maker of some of the worlds finest brass instruments. In our modern terminology, this is a soprano flugelhorn but in its day it was most often generically called an Eb cornet. This was the most common style of instrument used for the soprano voice in brass bands in the United States from the early 1850s until the late 1860s as the use of the Eb keyed bugle died out and before the narrow bell soprano cornets became popular.
It has a copper bell and branch with German silver valve mechanism. Copper was traditionally used for the body of keyed bugles and presumably this is a hold over from that tradition. This instrument is 12 1/8" long with a bell rim diameter of 4 9/16" and bore measuring .421". The mouthpiece, marked "D.C. Hall" was found with the instrument, is from about the same year and presumably was used with it originally.
By the late 1860s Boston makers were making most of their bells with a French rim rather than the applied garland seen here. A common feature in American style Eb sopranos at this time is the tuning adjustment by turning a nut on a threaded rod that is attached to the tuning mouthpipe shank. Like almost all US band instruments from the time it is in high pitch. Every good player that has tried it agrees that it is an exceptionally good playing instrument.
This was the first important instrument in my collection that I acquired in about 1980 and restored at a time that I had less understanding of how to treat such an instrument. Even though I thought at the time that I was polishing it conservatively, I definitely took off more metal than was appropriate. It is still a well preserved and important historical instrument.