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A Very Strange C.A. Wunderlich


Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
OK, so here's a head-scratcher of a stencil to unravel. We know that C.A. Wunderlich saxes were stencils, and that they were made by a wide-range of manufacturers including F.X. Hüller, F.Köhler, and Max Keilwerth--and those are just the ones that I have positively ID'd. There are numerous other C.A. Wunderlich horns that I have collected images of whose pedigrees so far elude me.

However, none of the C.A.Wunderlich horns I have collected images of are as much of as enigma as the one that is currently for sale on the German eBay site.

According to the seller it has no serial #. Looking at it, you would think that it is a Buescher stencil--if it weren't for the rolled tone holes; G# trill key; and microtuner neck.

I cannot recall ever seeing a German horn with this type of left pinkie cluster, or with this shape of chromatic F# key.

Left Side Neck Attached.jpg
Right Side Neck Attached.jpg


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Before continuing, I want to mention we lost power out here for 45 or so minutes. The forum saved my post. Cool. Well, warm. It's 117 and we might have a monsoon and/or a dust storm in just a bit.



My first question was going to be, "How did the seller know it was a CA Wunderlich?" The answer was, "It's engraved on the bell." I uploaded the pic. I also translated the German text with Google Translate. I didn't know that "Wunderlich" translated to "whimsical." Cool.

I'm gonna go with horns from your website, Helen :p

Here's a CA Wunderlich you list as a Kohler stencil
. It's almost an exact match for the horn on this page.
Here's another.

Your article on Franz Kohler
has an absolutely beautiful CA Wunderlich Cea listed in it, too. However, I'm still not sure that that it's a Kohler. I think that other Kohlers have significantly different G#/C#/B/Bb clusters. However, the big kicker is that I've never seen a Kohler -- that's not engraved "CA Wunderlich" -- with split bell keys. I also checked all the Kohlers on your 'site and mine: no microtuner necks in the bunch.

I also tend to think that these CA Wunderlich horns don't look like they're FX Hullers, either. FXH did have split-bell-key horns and definitely made some Cea horns for Wunderlich, but there is an awful lot of keywork differences between the CA Wunderlich pictured in this thread and other FXH horns.

So, my theory is that CA Wunderlich did make a few saxophones, but usually sold stencils from FXH. I think it's possible that CA Wunderlich bought some stencils from Kohler, but I've not yet seen a CA Wunderlich that looks significantly like other Kohlers.

Whew. Long post. I did a bunch of research.


Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Mmm.... So let's say I had a Topamax moment... Between the Rx. knocking 10+ IQ points off of me, plus the heatwave--albeit nothing like you are experiencing--that is not good for neurology patients like me, I forgot about the F. Köhler horns' left pinkie clusters looking like those of Buescher.

That's it though Pete, kick a girl when she's down. :p In the word's of the late, great Bea Arther on Maude: God will get you for that. :D


So now, in an effort to restore my honour, ;) ...

This is from Dr. Enrico Weller on the museum-markneukirchen .de forum

Die Firma C. A. Wunderlich (gegr. 1854, aufgelöst 1966, Schutzmarke Ceâ) galt in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts als eines der bedeutendsten Großhandelsunternehmen für Musikinstrumente im Vogtland. Der Firmengründer Carl August Wunderlich I (1826-1911) war zwar gelernter Metallblasinstrumentenbauer, später wurden jedoch selbst keine Instrumente mehr hergestellt.

Was Wunderlich von anderen Musikinstrumentenhändlern unterscheidet, ist die Tatsache, dass er bestimmte Modelle seines Sortiments von namhaften Handwerkern der Region herstellen ließ, auch wenn deren Signatur dann trotzdem nicht erschienen ist.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
E. Weller
Helen translate says:

The company C.A. Wunderlich (founded in 1854, disolved 1966, trademark Cea) was one of the most important wholesalers for musical instruments in Vogtland during the first half of the 20th century. Despite being trained as a brass wind maker, he company's founder Carl August Wunderlich (1826-1911) later did not make anymore instruments himself.

What differentiates Wunderlich from other musical instruments wholesalers, is the fact he had certain models of his product range manufactured by prestigious craftsmen in the region, even though their signature did not appear on the instrument.
There is nothing in any of the German literature I have come across that says that Wunderlich made their own saxophones. That catalogue page you link to, I also have. It is from a 1938 C.A. Wunderlich catalogue, but nowhere on that page do I see a mention that they made these horns themselves. All it says is: "try my saxophone".

That being said, Uwe Ladwig did unearth something that he mentions in his book, as well as on the markneukirchen museum forum:

die Handelsfirma C. A. Wunderlich wurde von Carl August Wunderlich I (1826-1911) gegründet, der gleichnamige Enkel war dort ab 1907 Prokurist, ab 1908 auch Gesellschafter. Die Firma wurde 1966 liquidiert. Für C. A. Wunderlich wurde am 15.02.1940 das DRGM 1483672 für ein „Saxophon mit offener Cis-Klappe“ eingetragen. ....
Helen translate again...

The trading company C.A. Wunderlich was found by Carl August Wunderlich (1826-1911). As of 1907, a nephew by the same name was the authorized representaive, and as of 1908, the major shareholder. The company was liquidated in 1966. On February 15, 1940, DRGM 1483672 was listed for C.A. Wunderlich. The copyright was for a "saxophone with an open C# key".

However, nowhere in Uwe's book does he expand on this; show pictures or brochures of the the horn; or is there any indication that Wunderlich ever produced them (or for that matter had them produced).

I will add more to this later, but I gotta run now.
Last edited by a moderator:


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Hey! I admit I didn't know the horns were on your website, too. I was just looking for other horns named "CA Wunderlich." Heck, I don't know about half of the things on my own website.

I did do some searching. DRGM lists prior to 1934 were destroyed. Yes, you mention the CA Wunderlich DRGM one is from 1940, but I looked at four "patent" websites and couldn't find anything for Wunderlich. Also, while I know that a lot of Germanic horns look less modern than their US/French counterparts, I'm pretty iffy on a split-bell key horn "patented" in 1940 -- although finding any sax "patent" would rather convince me that Wunderlich dabbled in saxophones.


It's only 113 at the moment. Radar shows storms comin' in. Yesterday didn't amount to much more than blowing a bunch of fronds of my neighbor's palm tree and into my yard. The power outage was caused by a blown circuit breaker at the subsystem.
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