J.W. York & Sons • no. 9916 • 1903
I was quite skeptical when first told of this pocket cornet. I’d never heard of a single York pocket before, and to my knowledge, such a model had not appeared in any York catalog of the period.
My first thought upon unpacking: a Gautrot pocket, private labeled for York. However, a side-by-side comparison with a Gautrot quickly dispelled this possibility. While this York was certainly based on the Gautrot wrap, the specific dimensions were quite different. Further examination of the construction revealed details consistent with other York cornets of the period (including a somewhat rare Eb cornet just 20 away in serial – no. 9936). Yet the valve block was different than other York cornets in that is is a bottom-spring type like many other pocket cornets.
My conclusion was that this cornet could only have been built by York as you see it – a pocket – and not converted from a conventional cornet.
Sadly, the instrument had undergone a previous restoration best described as “unfortunate.” I decided to totally disassemble the cornet and start over, finishing with new silver plate and gold wash, as it was originally constructed. The finger buttons and valve caps are still in the original gold plate. I had to replace several missing braces, machine a new shank receiver, and construct a repro Bb shank (duplicating a period example).
Length (shank removed): 9.0”
Bell Diameter: 3.25”