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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000745.txt from 2004/10

From: "Lelia Loban" <lelialoban@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] Re: genuine French Grenadier wood
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 12:01:47 -0400


Bill Hausmann wrote,
>Aside from some early ones (1920's) marked
>"G. M. Bundy" in sort of an Old English typeface
>that were made in France (see that recent "Grenadier
>wood" bass clarinet listing on eBay for the logo style),
>I don't think I have ever seen another pre-1950's
>Bundy clarinet. I don't think the serial number lists
>are accurate in that regard.

Okay, you're forcing me to do more homework. ;-) I agree with you that the
serial number lists are suspect. They're very incomplete, yet all of them
that I've found are identical: incomplete in the same ways. It looks as if
they all trace back to a single source. Does anyone know for certain the
identity of the source?

>The logo you described
>definitely puts it in the 1950's timeframe. There were
>Bundy clarinets made of wood, and Selmer (USA)
>clarinets made of plastic back then, but eventually
>they simplified the line.

Unfortunately, I don't have any Bundy catalogues from the 1940s or early
1950s. By the time of the 1958 Bundy catalogue, which I do have, Selmer
still made a wooden Bundy Bb clarinet with 17 keys and 6 rings, listed as
no. 1310. The catalogue says nothing about an unusual thumb key, or about
plateau keys on any clarinet. The logo on the bell of the 1958 catalogue
clarinet could be described in a way that would make it sound similar to
the one on the bell of my clarinet, but it actually looks very different.
The one in the catalogue looks much more sleek and modern. On the catalogue
clarinet, "Selmer" appears on top, in Selmer's usual lettering style, with
a shield around it that attaches to the shield around "BUNDY" below. On
mine, though, "Bundy" is above "Selmer" and the style of the part of the
shield that's around "Bundy" is a curved losenge. There's a second outline,
made up of tiny leaves, around most of the inside of the shield around
"Bundy" but not around "Selmer." Below "Bundy" is a tiny R, the trademark
registration claim, in a little loop that drops down from the divider
between the Bundy and Selmer sections of the shield.

I forgot to mention that the top section of my instrument has another logo,
"BUNDY" with the tiny "R" in the shield with the same design of the simple
line enclosing a leafy line in a curved losenge shape, but the Bundy logo
is alone, without the lower part of the shield and "Selmer." The
illustrated model in the 1958 catalogue also has "Bundy" alone on the top
section -- but once again, the styles of the shields and lettering are
different from mine. The catalogue model has the simple, modern Bundy
shield (a more geometrical shape, with no leaves) on the top section. The
logos are also stamped larger on the 1958 clarinets than on mine. The
differences are interesting because the original owner of this clarinet
said his parents bought it for him new in 1956 or 1957, just a year or two
before this 1958 catalogue came out.

Another difference is that this 1958 catalogue says the wooden Bundy has
forged, nickel-plated keys. I've been under the impression that my keys,
also forged, are solid nickel. I've just finished going over the keys with
a strong magnifying glass. I can't find anything that looks like typical
plate-wear, although the instrument shows many other signs of regular and
fairly rough usage. I found only one place, on the edge of the LH Ab key,
that might be a scratch through nickel plate to brass beneath. The keys are
dirty and I'm not sure that this yellowish mark isn't just a trace of glue
from replacing the key cork, which looks much newer than the others.
(Alternatively, removing the old cork carelessly would be a way for the
plate to get scratched there.)

The earliest Selmer catalogue I have is a poor Xerox copy of the 1928
issue. It lists "Bundy (Paris) Wood Clarinets" on p. 19. The photocopy
isn't good enough for me to *read* the logo, but it appears to me that it's
the same one I've described below, from the 1931 catalogue. The whole shape
of the logo looks nothing like the one on my Bundy. The 1928 models were
available in both Boehm and Albert systems, "made from carefully selected
grenadilla wood. The keywork on all Bundy and Barbier clarinets is entirely
drop-forged from special metal of unusual strength." (Is that a fancy way
of saying it's nickel?) The 17 key, 6 ring Boehm model is listed as no.
1497. All were low pitch, A=440 Hz, except by special order. All could be
had with silver-plated keys and/or plateau keys, for an extra charge.
There's no indication of anything unusual about the thumb key. At the time,
the Bundy was the middle grade for both wood and metal, with Selmer (Paris)
wood and Selmer (Paris) Master metal at the top and Barbier wood and metal
at the bottom.

In the 1931 Selmer catalogue, the information for Bundy (p. 28) is
basically the same. Where the catalogue talks about plateau keys, it seems
the extra charge is for making *all* of the keys plateaux. There's no
mention of a special thumb key. The logo on these Bundy clarinets is "Geo.
M. Bundy" in slanted script that looks like a signature, with "Paris" below
it and no shield shape around it. This logo looks nothing like the logo on
my clarinet.

In the 1935 Selmer catalogue, the top model has changed to the Selmer
"Balanced-Tone". The next one down is the Selmer-Bundy Special Clarinet, p.
17, available only in Bb by that time. I only have a Xerox of this
catalogue, and can't read the entire logo on the clarinet bell, but it is
not inside a shield design. It looks totally different from the logo on my
recently-acquired Bundy *and* totally different from the 1928 and 1931
logos. It has "G. M. Bundy" at the top in a fancy, archaic font
(Blackletter or something similar) that looks as if it might be what you
describe as Old English, Bill. I *think* the second line is "Paris," in a
fussy typeface with curlicue designs before and after. The smaller third
and fourth lines are lost in the dot matrix of the Xerox print. The Bundy
clarinets that aren't listed as Bundy Special only have those first two
lines on their bells. Same deal as before with the plateau key option, but
again it isn't illustrated, so I don't know whether the plateau keys all
had the 1/8" center holes. The next models down are Barbier and then
Raymond.

My case has no logo, btw, but I have a different, probably older case
(meant for storing a clarinet assembled) with yet another Bundy logo. That
one's Art Deco influenced, with "Bundy" in all- caps (as in modern style)
inside the shield that looks the same as the modern one. That shield is
enclosed in an outer shield, a simple oblong, with prominent Deco-type rays
fanning from the outside of the inner shield to the inside of the outer
shield.

Bill Hausmann wrote,
>My SUSPICION is that wooden Bundys had the large
>.590 cylindrical bore, and the Selmers the smaller .577,
>but I have not measured them. With the plastic
>Bundys/Selmers it is easier to tell. If it has the smaller bore,
>it is stamped "577" or later Selmers are stamped "1401."
>Large bore ones either have no number or "1400."

There's no number stamped on this clarinet except for the serial number.
The measurements are right in between 0.590 and 0.577! 5/8" is as far into
the bore as my digital calipers will reach, and therefore I can't measure
the bore behind the sockets, but only inside the tenons. The diameter of
each tenon narrows a bit at the rim. My margin of error in placing the
calipers seems to be about 0.002, but since that narrowing is consistent, I
don't think it's simply due to error on my part; and I did remember to zero
the calipers between measurements.

Top joint, upper tenon:
0.583 at 5/8" into the bore, to 0.580 at the rim

Top joint, lower tenon (center joint of clarinet):
0.586 at 5/8" into the bore, to 0.577 at the rim.

Lower joint, bell tenon:
0.800 at 5/8" into the bore, to 0.870 at the rim (which has a metal flush
band outside).

I'm still thinking this clarinet just looks older than 1956-57. The owner
told me he quit playing in high school: He played the clarinet for about
ten years. We're about the same age. My wooden 1958 Conn Director got hard
use for just about the same number of years. I broke a (cast, pot-metal)
key that had to be replaced and did other damage, but the wood on my Conn
looks pristine compared to this Bundy. The Bundy tenons have that slightly
worn look of an old instrument, with rounded edges on the tenons and on
some of the many tiny chips (nothing going through to the bore, luckily).
The present tenon corks, which are worn out, aren't the originals: all were
replaced *over* tenon chips, and the largest chip has a residue of old,
blackened cork still adhering to the bottom of the chip: so the cork that's
on there now is the *third* one on that joint. That's a lot of re-corking
for just ten years of use. To some extent that may only mean I was a fussy
little girl who took better daily care of my clarinet than the original
owner took of the Bundy, but -- well, the bottom line is, I don't have
enough information to conclude anything about the manufacturing date.

Bill, thanks very much for your data. I hope that trying to date a Bundy
doesn't mean that we're descending into the depths of crankhood, but
dammit, I just like to *know* this stuff....

Lelia Loban
America can do better: Kerry and Edwards in 2004!

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