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Claude Laurent Crystal Flutes

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#1
Yes, I've seen the $15 crystal flutes that you can buy in knick-knack shops, but this is different.

I was searching for something completely different and came across http://www.antiqueflutes.com/cgi-bin/catalog.cgi?snum=850.

(Aside: I really like the antiqueflutes.com website. Has some great detail pics and lots of factoids.)

Based on some other research, Claude Laurent started manufacturing crystal flutes (he had a patent, too) around 1807. According to the NMM (which also has some very nice pics), "... Laurent flutes were owned not only by James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, but also by Emperor Napoleon I of France, King Louis Napoleon of Holland, King Joseph Bonaparte of Spain, and Emperor Franz I of Austria."

I also find it extremely interesting that you can buy one of these 200 (or so) year old flutes today. For around $15,000.

He also built a few with different color glass.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#2
By the way, I'm branching out and pursuing this topic. Lotsa interesting information out there about these flutes.
 
#3
Glass flute

The woodwind repair tech I work with (Daniel Deitch, in SF), told me that repairing a 19th century glass flute was the scariest job he ever undertook.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
I'd imagine it's scary for two reasons:

First, if you were talking about a Laurent flute -- other folks did make glass instruments -- you're talking about a $10,000 to $20,000 instrument.

Second, if you're talking about a Laurent flute, you're talking about an incredibly rare, almost irreplaceable about 200-year-old instrument.

The combination of the two makes me feel a bit jittery, too.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#6
I'd tend to think that if the repairman broke my horn, he'd (or his insurance) would be paying for it.

As a point of amusement, the FBI has at least one and possibly two Laurent flutes on their "stolen" list. One would assume they don't do that for run-of-the-mill items.
 
#7
Glass flute repair

IIRR, Daniel said the scary part was that there was a metal part that for some reason could not be removed from the glass body and had to be brazed (?) in place. I think the cost was secondary, as he noted in the same discussion that he has also repaired 19th century Heckel bassoons, which cost on the order of 3X as much. Of course, they don't have a tendency to shatter!
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#8
I have always wondered about how many Heckel horns (and other instruments, for that matter) were incinerated during the bombing raids of World War II.

In a number of books on instrumental history, I have noted items in German collections that now only have a single extant joint, or were totally destroyed during the raids. I would imagine that instruments still being played were a little more protected than those in museum collections, but you never know.

Blame it on Hitler; he was (for the greatest part) responsible, and he won't mind anymore, anyway...
 
#9
Bombing and cultural loss

One cultural loss in WWII resulted from a German museum's attempt to keep a collection ancient pottery safe from bombing by sending it to a remote village in Bavaria. Unfortunately, it was discovered by a peasant family who decided to use it in a marriage custom called the "polterabend" (throwing evening), in which large quantities of dishes are shattered to ensure good luck for the newlyweds.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#10
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#12
Thanks!
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#13
First, I'll mention that when I go to the website I'm going to mention, I get a pop-up for Mackeeper "malware." If you've got a Mac and see the pop-up, just don't click on it.

I mentioned elsewhere that I'm slowly fixing links and adding stuff to my Claude Laurent page on my blog. One part of the "stuff" is this page on a French website I really like called, "Archives Musique, Facteurs, Marchands, Luthiers" (something like, "The Archive of Music, Music Dealers, Manufacturers, Musical Instrument Makers" -- I don't read French, but Google Translate is pretty good). I found that they have an article on the cobalt blue Claude Laurent flute owned by Louis Bonaparte that was auctioned off a couple years ago. This article is great not just because of the other Napoleon III stuff mentioned -- like his hat, which sold for 1.8 million Euros -- but because it has very decent pics of the flute. I think there are only two fully intact cobalt blue Claude Laurent flutes and it's difficult to find good pics. Also, for comparison, the last white (clear) Claude Laurent flute sold at Christie's Auctions for about $15,000 US (in 2009). This cobalt blue one sold for 37,000 Euros (in 2014). That's about $42,000 US.
 
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TrueTone

Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History
#14
From what you said on the sax.info just to say how important that development is:

"'[and] mounting the keys in silver posts attached to metal plates which are screwed to the tube, the steel pins on which the keys turn are tempered and polished and permit a perfect fitting..'
That's a completely earth-shattering idea.

While it's obvious to you and me that if you want to mount keywork you need, well, a mount. This wasn't obvious in 1805. If you wanted to put a key on an instrument, you formed a little 'bump' in whatever material you were using and affixed a key though that (see, well, all of the flutes under the heading "First Generation English 6-8 Key Flutes" at www.mcgee-flutes.com). With this one sentence in a patent, all woodwinds became MUCH easier and less expensive to produce and allowed manufacturers to add on more keys. As a matter of fact, Boehm's 1832 flutes and his fingering system would have been almost impossible to make. Just imagine one of these with formed wood or ivory pivots. Take a look at the video at http://www.interencheres.tv/?p=26 (around the 1:20 mark), even if you don't understand French. They do a side-by-side comparison of a Laurent flute (specifically, the one owned by Napoleon III) and a contemporary flute with the 'formed' pivots. Same amount of keys, but the Laurent flute looks much, much more modern."

Also, I believe the cobalt blue one in the post you made directly above me belonged to Louis Bonaparte, not Napoleon III, as it says "Elle aurait appartenu à Louis Bonaparte, roi de Hollande, frère cadet de Napoléon Bonaparte" which roughly translates to "it belonged to Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland, and younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte."

 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#15
It's called, "Pete's skimming the Wikipedia article again." Quote: "Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, later known as Louis Napoleon and then Napoleon III, was born in Paris on the night of 20–21 April 1808. His father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the King of Holland from 1806 until 1810." Napoleon III owned this Claude Laurent flute, too.

Don't mind me. I'm always cofnused.

 
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