@Niner Niner, great post, many thanks. This type of detailed, historical info is most important for those of us interested in the vintage side of things. The industries heritage should not be lost through either neglect or ignorance.
Yes, that's a keyed bugle, not a valved bugle. Valved bugles are basically the forerunner of the flugelhorn. You'd think people at a museum would be able to get something so simple labled correctly, but I saw one of the instruments in the Gettysburg museum labled incorrectly, too.
By trial and error, I learned to play a borrowed Eb keyed bugle a number of years ago and performed a few simple pieces on it before the owner asked for it back and traded it for another instrument. There was no "standard" setup for them, and the number of keys varied from horn to horn. If I remember correctly, all the keys raise the pitch, except for the one nearest the bell flare, which is normally open and lowers the pitch when used.
I'm using the "Dale Proctor" avatar with his permission. We are pretty tight...lol
I was cleaning up a few horns today. Thought I'd take a few photos of the Liberty and the Super 20 and compare them.
The Liberty started in the 20's the Super 20 didn't come around until the 40's...I think. The Liberty, mine is early, has a 4.5 inch bell and the Super has a bell quarter inch wider. At the same time the Super has a shorter valve body by about a half inch. The Super 20 first valve slide is attached front and side while the Liberty is a side attachment. The Super 20 has a larger micro tuning slide adjustment than the liberty. The Super also has a thumb adjustment on the first slide that the Liberty doesn't. The Super 20 has a little fancier furniture and both are "professional" trumpets for their day.
I took a few glamour shots of my 1890 F. Besson London Nouveau Etoile model A/Bb/C cornet today. It’s a neat old instrument, and plays surprisingly well to be 130 years old. It’s listed on the Galpin Society of 19th century Besson instruments known to exist. The surviving company books list this one as shipped to Carl Fischer, New York, in December 1890.
Right, that is why I suggested it could be an earlier cornet of his.
Looking at it more, it doesn't look like a French instrument. Those style of keys are very much the German style with the shape of the key and the large "puck" the key is attached to. Besson did make some rotary valve cornets (e.g. Robb has one on his website) but the keys don't look like that. The thin bracing also does not look like any Besson bracing I have seen. Also that style of engraving looks later to me, the French engraving of that period is pure lines; that style of engraving is what was popular post-1900. And I agree the engraving looks too sloppy for a Besson. The water key has a coil spring on it which is also post-1900.
There could be explanations for this, e.g. Besson was copying the recent German designs and had not yet added their own touches to it. But, I would say some healthy skepticism is in order until there are more details 😁
PS Here is a German cornet from around 1900, it looks a lot more like this than like any French instrument (notice the bracing for example). Also this style was patented in 1900 and popular then .. more strikes.