• Conn Altos Throughout the Years

    by  • March 12, 2012 • Conn

    O.  Hai, folks.

    I’m testing out something that sort-of interests me a bit.  I’ve always enjoyed my “throughout the years” series for a couple of reasons: first, I don’t have to do too much research other than to *find* the pics and, second, I get to see a lot more pretty horns.  Another reason, which is almost as important, is that I can make some corrections and additions to my old website, saxpics.com.  Hey, it’s been 5 years since I sold it.  There’s a lot more stuff on the Intarwebs, now.

    You might ask why I’m doing altos.  The answer is because this is the *most* common horn.  This usually means that design changes are first seen on the alto and that I’ll probably have mostly alto pics.

    I’m thinking about how to add some offsite stuff I’ve found, too.  It’s more-of one of those, “I have to do it to see how it actually looks,” type of things.  I’m just starting with Conn because I know that I’ve got a lot of Conn pics around.

    The big pic on the left, with the caption below it, is clickable and should take you to my local galleries (of all pitches).  The smaller pics will take you to a bigger pic with links to a gallery of that horn.  Rolling your mouse over a small pic will tell you its serial number and approximate manufacture date.

    Finally, to get everything to look as it does, I used a bit of HTML code.  It’s W3C checked, so it should look OK in any browser.


    Conn Worcester Series

    Conn Wonder 'Worcester Series' s/n 0 to 1000 (appx. 1888 to 1895)

    From the eBay ad for the s/n 16 horn, pictured above:

    “This is undoubtably the 16th saxophone made in this country. Conn bought the Fisk factory in Worchester, Massachusetts, in 1887 and a year later made the first saxoophone in America. This is one is numbered 16. It is one of the most beautiful saxophones that I have ever laid eyes on. It is gold plated with about 95% of the plating intact, and the 25 leaves on the bell are all silver plated. The engraving is superb. The bow is engraved along with the bow guard. There is not a single dent in the bow. The greatest flaw is that it was made with a double octave key system. Sometime in its history it was changed over to an automatic system. This was done very, very, well, maybe even in the Conn factory. It plays to high F and low Bb. The bis key button may be a later addition. Very little of the gold plate is worn off. There is one little dent on the bell just above the joint between the bow and bell. It reads on the bell: ‘Made by C. G. Conn Elkhart Indiana and Worchester, Mass.’ One must look very hard to find the number 16 just above where the bell is attached to the bow among the flowers. There are pearls on all the front keys, the G#, and the low C & Eb. It is ready to play with new pads but you cannot take it on a gig unless it is a HP band as the instrument is high pitched. One is amazed at how modern this early saxophone is. It has features that Conn did not use again for fifty years.”

    The name “Worcester” is just used for convenience.  The official Conn model name is some variation on “Wonder,” as you can see in this 1890 catalog from saxophone.org.  I’m currently trying to get a handle on early Conn model names.

    Finally, my opinion is that a “Worcester Series” Wonder has to have the G# cluster in this form. The later Wonder horns have a G# cluster in this form.