Eb Valve Bugle by E.G. Wright, Hall & Quinby
E.G. Wright is probably my favorite brass instrument maker and over-represented on this website. Featuring this restoration would be covering the same ground that I've been over several times except that this one has a different story to tell. The restoration was straightforward for the most part, the only challenges were in making the various parts to replicate the originals. This leads me to that different story: on first viewing, I knew that this instrument was different than any other that I've seen. I've owned and restored numerous Wright Eb valve bugles (also called soprano flugelhorn or soprano Saxhorn) and they all had side action levers. Becausethe levers were missing, it took me several minutes to notice that they were mounted in the opposite direction than Wright instruments that do have top action, such as the Bb cornet featured here. Then I quickly notice small details: braces, valve stop arms, lever mounts, pull knobs etc. that are all different from Wright's designs. Then my palm hits my forehead as I take a second look at the engraving, which is surrounded by a wreath of leaves. This was the trademark of the shop that was founded by J.L. Allen, taken over by D.C. Hall in 1862 and run by the Quinby brothers from that time until the 1880s. In 1868, when E.G. Wright & Co. changed its name to "Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory". Wright then left that shop to work with Hall & Quinby in the last year or two of his life. Most instruments made in that shop were continued as before, but others, presumably assembled by Wright were signed as he had done previously. These all seem to have the trademark wreath indicating where they were actually made. I only know of about a half dozen instruments signed this way and on close examination, they all have the small details that confirm their origins.
This instrument isn't identical to those signed by Hall & Quinby, although the differences are very minor. These include the tuning mouthpipe being fixed to the instrument, compared to the removable shank seen on all others of this design that I'm familiar with including several on this web site. I was able to confirm this to be correct based on the placement of the brace that attaches to the bell. Also in the Hall & Quinby products, the tube leading from the valve assembly to the bell tail has a sideways curve so that the third valve slide will clear it as it is pulled. In this case the third slide has very short inside tubes so that is clears the outside tubes just as it hits that main tube. Using all of this evidence, I was very confident that I could reproduce missing parts accurately. I made the mouthpipe tuning assembly fixed to the instrument but with the mechanism copied from Hall & Quinby. For the valve levers, I had castings made of those from my top action D.C. Hall cornet, which I know from experience are the same as used on all such instruments made in this shop. Aside from the dents and slides being severely stuck in place, this instrument is very well preserved and not surprisingly, a superbly good playing soprano.