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C.G. Conn / R. Stewart 40B Vocabell Pocket Conversion
no. 304712 • 1935 / 2007

This is an incredible project – a “what if” instrument just completed by Robb Stewart. Conn ceased to make the Parlor model cornet in the 1920’s.  What if Conn had made a pocket cornet or trumpet in the 1930’s? Robb started with a “parts” 40B Vocabell trumpet, which had damaged valves and was missing parts.  The Vocabell was the most famous of the Art Deco-styled trumpets and cornets, with distinctive columned valve casings, and rimless bell, not to mention the incredible geometric engraving on the bell featuring “Pan the Piper.”

In the course of creating this one-of-a-kind pocket, the horn was replated (sandblast/burnished) in silver with gold bell wash, and the valves were overhauled.  Thanks to the matching receiver insert, it can be played as a cornet, which is my preference.  In spite of the relatively small bore, this is one of the loudest, most powerful pockets in my collection, with a very “open” blow, and a lot of fun to play -- one of the few totally “gig-worth” pocket horns I own.

My sole contribution to this project was the construction of a mini “slimline” Conn-style case, duplicating the features of the original Vocabell csae of the 1930’s.

Length (shank removed): 8”

Bell Diameter: 3.875”

Bore: .458

Another Conn 40B Vocabell trumpet, to give an idea of how this pocket started out. Note that the actual “donor horn” was more properly described as a “parts horn” and not the pristine original Vocabell shown here!
(photo courtesy Bill Faust)

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