Lizards Backwards 'R' Us

1907 C.G.Conn 5 valve double bell Bb baritone (Pryorphone) - Low Pitch

Home
Vintage Horn Catalog
Unmarked 4 Allen Valve SARV Bb Cornet
Unmarked Stölzel Valve Bb/A/G Cornopean
1872-1878 Courtois Bb Tenor Valve Trombone
1874 Boosey/Distin Eb/C Soprano Cornet
c.1875 Lehnert Centennial Eb Alto Valve Trombone
c.1902 Buescher Mfg Co True Tone "Epoch" Cornet
1907 Conn 5 Valve Double Bell (Pryorphone)
1908 Conn Wonderphone C/Bb/A Cornet
c.1913 York & Sons Perfec-Tone Bb/A Cornet
1914 Conn Artist's Small Bore Bb Tenor Trombone
1914 Conn Eb Alto Horn
c.1918 Couturier Bb/A Conical Bore Cornet
1920 Boston MIC Bb/F Double French Horn
c.1925 Lyon & Healy "Couturier Model" Bb Tenor Trombone
c.1925 Lyon & Healy C/Bb/A Trumpet
1926-1930 Conn 10L Bb Bugle
1930 Holton "hatbox" Mellophone
1931 Holton "hatbox" Horn in F

dbeuphonium01.jpg

dbeuphonium03.jpg
Jeweled caps and 5th valve lock

dbeuphonium02.jpg
Locking main bell

Gold plated with inset jewels in the bell lock screws, it also has large jewels on top of the finger buttons, which are engraved as leaves in relief on the sides.  It has a specially made fifth valve lock as part of the valve cap, which will hold the valve in the down position in order to utilize the trombone bell full time.  It also has a slotting mechanism to lock the large bell into place
 
You will note the tuning loop in the leadpipe, also in the Conn Double Bell Baritone below, which often identifies a horn as a baritone rather than a euphonium.  In addition, this horn has an "S", or small bore.  The top bell collar is above the topmost main tubing curves, unlike the later Wonderphones.  The trombone bell is in a lower position.  The Low Pitch tuning slides, which are used in the pictures above, actually lower the horn to A=435, which was an earlier standard Low Pitch.  I had to remake the High Pitch tuning slides in order to perform with this horn in both High and Modern Pitch.  Regardless, this horn is a ball to play!
 
This horn was specially made by Conn in 1907 (according to the serial number) as a presentation horn for Simone Mantia while he was soloist with Arthur Pryor's band.  Mantia was a long-time Conn endorser.  The details of its construction are inconsistent with any earlier or later euphoniums.
 
Pryorphone?
 
The Pryorphone as advertised by a Holton Instrument catalog of the 1920's shows both a Single and Double Bell Pryorphone, the only real change from the euphoniums in the same catalog being a removable forward facing bell.

dbpryorphone.jpg

Holton Double Bell Pryorphone
c. 1920 Catalog Drawing

pryorphone.jpg
From 1908 Pittsburgh sesqui-centennial program

   

holtonpp.jpg
1926 Holton prices

  

When Conn put such instruments into production, they went by the model "Double Bell Wonderphone Euphonium", and they had different shapes and longer bells.  An upward or forward facing helicon became a "Sousaphone", so I believe that this may have been one of the very first "Pryorphones".
 
This horn was owned for a time by William C. Hoffman, of Cranbury, N.J., who allowed me to acquire it upon his passing.
 
Bill related to me that the Elkhart, Ind. Conn employees recognized this horn and gathered around it when he brought it back to Elkhart following an auto accident.  He said that it was they who told him that it had been originally made for Mantia.

74idraw1926.jpg

Conn Double Belled Baritone
1926 Catalog Drawing