Distin & Co. Bb/A Miniature • no. 12518 / 15909 • 1873
This wonderful pocket actually belongs to my friend Bill Faust. I did the restoration work on it, and decided to include it in the “my collection” page, so it wouldn’t get overlooked, as I believe it to be very significant in the design evolution of the pocket cornet.
Henry Distin designed pocket cornets for his first company, which was later bought out by Boosey & Co (who continued to manufacture his designs). This appears to be the second Bb design (compare to the 1872 example), but is very different, and considerably simpler from a manufacturing standpoint.
Importantly, it seems to be the design on which the vast majority of all pocket cornets/trumpets are based, including the “dime a dozen” pocket trumpets made to this day in Taiwan. About the only feature that seems to come and go on subesquent designs, is the execution of the first valve slide. On this (as well as Boosey, Conn, and Brown for example), the first slide goes straight back from the casing, towards the mouthpiece. On many later (and most current-day) derivatives (such as Hakam Din, Cantabile, Jupiter, etc.), the first slide turns 180 degrees to lie alongside the valve block. I’ve never really understood why anybody would choose to do it this way. It’s much more complicated to make, and the horn is harder to hold as well, while creating an only slightly more compact profile.
This example was made in Distin’s London factory, and came with its original leather satchel. It is high pitch. Although it came with Bb and A shanks, I don’t believe either to be original Distin parts.
Length (shank removed): 8.125”
Bell Diameter: 3.75”