F. Besson C/Bb • London • 1877

This extremely rare pocket is serial number 14357 and corresponds to a Besson stock book entry describing it as a “Pocket in C, Modele.”  It was either a “shop model” or prototype and was evidently never finished for sale – it was never given final polishing, and the bell (if original) does not bear the usual Besson stampings.  However, its presence in the Besson stock books confirms that this was a “London” instrument. The valve set dates to 1874, while the entry for the horn is much later – Jan. 1, 1877. It was from a batch of five pockets – 3 in Bb, this one in C, and one more in Eb. Note the unusual tuning slide - this is for playing in Bb.  It has a small secondary crook at the top (removable) which was probably for switching from high to low pitch. As shown, it is Bb HP. With a “stock” Besson cornet HP slide crook inserted instead of the Bb crook, it plays in C HP, and with a standard LP slide crook, it plays in C LP. I have constructed a second, longer secondary crook for the Bb slide to allow for LP. The valves have little wear, suggesting the cornet was played very little over its life. At this time it is the only known Besson pocket with the “English Bell” configuration (bell on left) – the others are all “French Bell.”


Length (shank removed): 7.5”

Bell Diameter: 2.875”

Bore: .473

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