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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Conn 6E mellophone (Read 2486 times)
Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #15 - Aug 20th, 2022 at 8:21pm
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kenton wrote on Aug 20th, 2022 at 5:04pm:
OK, your curiosity got me thinking about the Conn Mellophones with slant pistons I have stored away.  I find I have 4E's: 2 in good condition, 1 in playable condition, 1 in rough condition and 1 as a parts horn.   And one 6E in playable condition.

Until now, I didn't know exactly what was down there.

 

Right now, I'm at the point of not being sure what a 6E vs a 4E even is - what I'm finding is confusing me, but I haven't gone though the data in detail to see what corresponds with what and what doesn't. It doesn't help that Conn didn't always put the model number on the horn anywhere - I did see 1 4E that was what I expected a 4E to look like that actually had "4E" stamped on the leadpipe.
  
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kenton
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #16 - Aug 20th, 2022 at 10:01pm
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The difference is subtle:



6e on the left
  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #17 - Aug 21st, 2022 at 4:22am
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Ok - I have retransmitted 3 pix in 3 separate emails, please let me know if you get them!

One thing I have been able to determine pretty firmly is that this is NOT a 6E that I'm talking about. A comment I read on another forum stated that the Numeric-Alpha model numbers didn't start until about 1920 - and the limited access I've had to pre-1920 brochures supports this. My horn was called "A New Invention Model Mellophone" in 1912 and 1913, I'll take the risk of ASS-U-ME-ing that it was in 1911 as well.

I'm still collating the information I have found, more when I know more!
« Last Edit: Aug 22nd, 2022 at 7:13pm by Zorba »  
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kenton
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #18 - Aug 22nd, 2022 at 2:29am
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So, could we see a picture of the logo on the horn?
  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #19 - Aug 22nd, 2022 at 7:13pm
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kenton wrote on Aug 22nd, 2022 at 2:29am:
So, could we see a picture of the logo on the horn? 

Absolutely. I went back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to polish the thing, but finally decided to go ahead and order special polish and cloths to do so. I'll take a pix of the logo after I do that - gimme a day or so...
  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #20 - Aug 22nd, 2022 at 7:17pm
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kenton wrote on Aug 20th, 2022 at 10:01pm:
The difference is subtle:

https://horn-u-copia.net/Docs/4-6e.jpg

6e on the left

I missed this somehow - but very subtle indeed.
  
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #21 - Aug 22nd, 2022 at 7:52pm
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The instrument in question:


  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #22 - Aug 23rd, 2022 at 4:55am
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kenton wrote on Aug 22nd, 2022 at 7:52pm:


Picture of the bell engraving is inbound. 3 hours of polishing and elbow grease brought out the shine once again - the horn looks brand new from "stage distances"; far better than any 111 year old horn has any business looking!
  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #23 - Aug 24th, 2022 at 4:47am
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After sifting through all the Conn catalogs I was able to locate online (on a Saxophone site of all things), I have come to the following conclusions:

In 1911, my instrument was apparently called a "French Horn Model Alto" according to a 1911 "Musical Truth", with F,Eb,D & C leadpipes. No 1911 catalog available that might have more information.

No 1912 info available.

In - or by - 1913, the exact same horn was then called the "New Invention Model Mellophone" per the 1913 catalog. A "New Invention French Horn Model Alto" was also available, but only with Eb and C leadpipes. So the supported keys were swapped around and so was the model name.

1914 appears to be the same for both instruments.

in 1917, or by 1917, was apparently when the two started changing. The "French Horn Alto" still had its Eb and C leadpipes, but the Mellophone - now called the "New Wonder", went with F, Eb, D & C main slide crooks (with an LP extension) in lieu of leadpipes , plus some stylistic changes.

By 1919, both instruments were *apparently* available only as HP or LP, forgoing including both types of main slides as was done previously. The "French Horn Alto" became Eb only, whereas the Mellophone continued with crooks for the usual 4 keys.

By 1926, the familiar 6E/7E and 4E/5E nomenclature appeared alongside the previous names. When the numeric-alpha call-outs first started cannot be determined from this data. Perhaps as early as 1917 - I've heard 1920.

The situation was identical in 1928 - and presumably 1927 as well.

1929 and 1931 both had ONLY the 4E listed (no more HP), still with all 4 keys of main slide crooks. 1930 presumed to be the same.

By 1935 however, the 4E underwent an interesting change. Top and bottom were swapped so the main slide was now on top, valve slides on the bottom, and the main slide had a rotary valve to select between F and Eb. This slide could be removed completely and replaced with one to play in C. Key of D capability was lost.

My take on this is that my instrument is the direct ancestor of the 4E/5E, but additional catalogs from the missing years would tighten this timeline up a bit. Several eBay pix with serial numbers were able to partially confirm things, but the best sources are the actual catalogs.

I have a chart I drew up with all this and more if anyone's interested. Any additional data would be appreciated.

  
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #24 - Aug 27th, 2022 at 6:55pm
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This is a Conn 6E Eb-C Mellophone Serial#162839 (c. 1918)


(Looking closer at the 6E I have.)

The 1918 Conn Catalog describes the 6E as an alternative to the French horn in modern bands, but were not appropriate for orchestra settings. The catalog pointed out that bands use French horn music in Eb (which was a short lived convention of the time). The instrument was pitched in Eb and also came with a crook to lower it to C so it could play off of piano music.
  
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Zorba
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #25 - Aug 27th, 2022 at 8:13pm
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I do not have a 1918 catalog page, but would like one...

The 1919 catalog does indeed say similar things - BUT - it is NOT referred to as a 6E - or anything else numeric-alpha. Neither does the 1922 "Musical Truth" that I have. The 1924 catalog does, however.

To make things more confusing, Musical Truth, Catalog, and Price lists use different names between the three of them, sometimes in the same year. Its entirely possible numeric-alpha designations were used way earlier than I know about in pricelists or truths that I don't have. I'd love to see more literature from the late teens and early 20s - is it online somewhere? I only have the stuff saxophone.org has, and its spotty.

EDIT: Just found another cache of Conn literature - so far I've found that the numeric-alpha designations weren't used in the 1923 Musical Truth either - duplicating the 1922 version. Dunno about catalogs or pricelists - hopefully this new site has them!

Goddess knows I played enough Eb music when I was a horn player - every horn player MUST know how to transpose on the fly.

Did you receive the bell picture?
« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2022 at 9:26pm by Zorba »  
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kenton
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #26 - Aug 28th, 2022 at 12:54pm
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The company started using the numerical designations in 1919.

I did get the logo picture, thank you.

I think the issue that we don't realize looking back is that business back then, including Conn, were promoting their products in as cost effective manner as possible.  And, they saw no real need to make across the board changes to their advertising material.  No need to immediately add numbers when the product hadn't changed, and the publication plates had already been made. 

Sometimes minor changes were made, and a new name was assigned, sometimes a change was made and the number didn't change.  Sometimes the difference between models was barely perceptible.  Why did all this happen?  Sometimes it was because an improvement was implemented.  But, just as often, it was because the marketing department was trying to convince a gullible customer base that the new instrument would perform better than the one they already had. 
  
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #27 - Aug 28th, 2022 at 2:44pm
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I have absolutely zero doubt that you know what you're talking about - you've been studying this stuff for years.

But I'd sure like to see your source for this. I only have "Musical Truth" for 1920 and 1921, and a 1919 catalog; none of which have the numeric-alpha designations. The next source I have is 1924 where "truth", catalog and pricelist all use them. I've also heard 1920 and 1922 as start dates - I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!  Cheesy Those claims don't cite sources either.

'Preciate your conversation - I get into minutiae like this sometimes, it can be fascinating! Sometimes the names of these instruments weren't the same between their various literature even in the same year, or they'd switch back and forth between years. It didn't matter much back then, but trying to piece together a story 111 years later results in considerable confusion, esp. when available sources are scarce and fragmentary. I'm wondering if the Music Museum has the "missing" catalogs, I've turned up onesies-twosies here and there, but other than the Sax site, nobody seems to have this stuff online.
  
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #28 - Aug 28th, 2022 at 5:48pm
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Oh - is the logo picture usable? If not, I can certainly try again - film's cheap!
  
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Re: Conn 6E mellophone
Reply #29 - Aug 29th, 2022 at 2:32am
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Just haven't gotten to adding it to the composite.
  
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