C.G. Conn / N. DeCarlis New Wonder “Bantam” Pocket Conversion
no. 137870 • 1915 / 2008
This is a pocket conversion of the famous Conn New Wonder, which is more commonly called the Victor, a name which Conn started to use around 1917.
The model had two very distinctive feature, the first being the “opera glass” tuning slide, between the first valve and mouthpiece. The sencond feature was a unique mechanism which allowed for perfect conversion from the key of Bb to A by pulling the main slide on the mouthpipe. These two features had to be preserved in a conversion, but would have to undergo modifications.
The opera glass was relatively simple to deal with, whereby it was rotated 90 degrees, which saved space and made for more direct connections. The key change slide took a great deal more thought and reconstruction. Two of the shots at left show the key change slide extended (past the bell rim), and how the three valve slides extend a small proportionate amount to preserve intonation.
As always, I tried to modify and re-use original parts wherever I could. Also, nearly all of the braces are original to this horn, or came from similar era parts Conns, modified as necessary.
The bell was rebent by brass master Robb Stewart, who fabricated the “branch” (the next portion of the bell stem which loops back towards teh first valve) by modifying the original bell crook. Once I got these parts back, I did the finish work, and machined ferrules to join the parts to the valve block. All parts were assembled and soldered, and polished for the final touch, new silver plate with gold bell wash. The silver was carefully burnished with rottenstone to achieve a satin luster. Last, I constructed a custom vintage-style carrying case for it.
The cornet plays very well, with a strong, powerful tone.
Length (mpc. removed): 9.625
Bell Diameter: 4.625”