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pretty pictures of a gold-plated Couf Superba I

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
Hey, Helen: the 1959 catalog's interesting because it's got the "angel wing" models AND both New King and Toneking models are listed. The other fun thing is that the bari -- New King only -- has sheet metal keyguards. Makes that bari you sent me pics of more interesting!
I have a couple of possible theories for this: 1. The baris ordered by Ravoy were custom ordered with the Lucite guards, or; 2. Since the bari I sent you pics of was a couple of years older, JK abandoned the idea of putting so much plastic on a horn in the 2 years that had elapsed.

A couple of other random thoughts that crossed my mind while I was reading through the JK catalogue...

Firstly, it was possible for customers to order their The New King models with a metal key guard, instead of a Lucite one. The ad states that on this page. Actually, I realize it says the same thing on this page as well. This is the first evidence that I've seen that JK offered these metal angel wings for sale to its European customers.

Secondly, the price of the horns is interesting. The New King tenor in 1959 cost 621 DM in the silver plated version. This Dörfler & Jörka-stencilled Original Hopf Classic--also in silver plate--cost 600 DM in 1956 when it was new. Check out D&J's version of the angel wing. So far I have documented 3 (I think it's 3) of the D&J horns with these angel wing key guards. All of them have been very early horns (in the 7XXX serial number range). The price however, is what's most interesting.

D&J was not a cheap manufacturer, and their horns (clones of the JK The New Kings & Tonekings) were actually very good. Clearly, their prices were obviously just as high as--if not higher than--JK horns. Since I have both a D&J tenor, and a JK The New King tenor of similar vintages, I am in a position to be able to comment intelligently on these horns and how they contrast/compare. I'm planning on doing that later, but for now, I just thought their prices were very interesting.

If anyone here is interested, I recently updated the D&J page on my site again. I dare you to find more written about the brand anywhere... In any language... Including German... ;) ... Yes, that's including what Uwe Ladwig's written about them in his book, or his articles in Sonic sax & brass, or anywhere else. (I've collaborated with him on my page, that's why I can write this with such conviction.) ;)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Check out D&J's version of the angel wing
That's kewl. Ugly, but kewl. More seriously, the Keilwerth angel wing was patented (as mentioned above), so D&J obviously couldn't use the same one.

Can you possibly translate the Keilwerth catalog? Some of it? I can do a Google translate and transliterate, but I think I'll miss a bit in the translation.

I dare you to find more written about the brand anywhere
I dare you to find more Kohlert information than what I wrote on saxpics.com, so there :p.

On a complete tangent, I was looking for something else and I came across another German manufacturer: Zimmerman. I'll get you some info on that a bit later, but it seems that although he's "known" for making saxophones, he has a larger following in the whistle circles. Well, Hohner was more known for harmonicas and accordions ....
 
Firstly, it was possible for customers to order their The New King models with a metal key guard, instead of a Lucite one. The ad states that on this page. Actually, I realize it says the same thing on this page as well. This is the first evidence that I've seen that JK offered these metal angel wings for sale to its European customers.
I saw one of these go on Ebay germany a week or so ago. Hadn't heard of it before. But the metal keyguards were just like the angel wings, cast I guess. I thought it was a good copy, but looked rather professional. Can't find the listing now, I may have a link on another computer.

I've also seen shots of some with a mix of metal and lucite guards.
 
I dare you to find more Kohlert information than what I wrote on saxpics.com, so there :p.
Something that's been puzzling me on this...

You say Kohlert kicked off in 1840, but the serial number chart starts around 1900 with 1, this seems to tie in with the VKS name change. Were earlier models unnumbered, or on an earlier, unknown/undocumented/unresearched series?

Others say Kohlert started around 1880, not 1840.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I saw one of these go on Ebay germany a week or so ago. Hadn't heard of it before. But the metal keyguards were just like the angel wings, cast I guess. I thought it was a good copy, but looked rather professional. Can't find the listing now, I may have a link on another computer.

I've also seen shots of some with a mix of metal and lucite guards.
According to Uwe Ladwig's research article of JK, the metal angel wings were actually standard issue on the horns sold for export to the US. Now, according to this catalogue, it seems they offered them as an option for at least its German customers, if not all of its European ones.

If you check out what Gerhard Keilwerth sells in his shop, you will often see his restored Tonekings or The New Kings with these metal angel wings. Herr Keilwerth has replacement wings that he puts on the horns he restores if the original Lucite ones are broken or missing. Sometimes he includes both sets of guards just because.

This is an example of what I'm talking about. This was actually the tenor I was tempted to buy (but I ended up buying a minty Hohner President locally instead). Notice the replacement guard is mounted on the horn that is done in metal, but GK included the original Lucite guard as well.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
That's kewl. Ugly, but kewl. More seriously, the Keilwerth angel wing was patented (as mentioned above), so D&J obviously couldn't use the same one.

Can you possibly translate the Keilwerth catalog? Some of it? I can do a Google translate and transliterate, but I think I'll miss a bit in the translation.
I wonder if the "ugly" one you mention, wasn't a patent infringement, and that's why D&J stopped using it?

Sure I can translate the paragraphs for you. I can do that a little later today. I'm heading out in a little while and will be gone most of the morning & afternoon.

There really isn't much there, so it shouldn't take more then half an hour in total for everything. I'll send it to you in an email when it's done. The problem with using Google or any other translation program is that these are images, and you can't copy and paste. ;-)
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I doubt...

...although I do not know it for a 'fact', that the key guards in question would infringe on any utility patents, simply because the purpose and function of any key guard would be "obvious", and thus not patentable under most patent laws.

A design patent might have been infringed, simply because the shape may have been improperly copied in a direct, imitative form, but not a patent in the normally understood form. And, unless the originator of the key guard in question was "patent happy", it's unlikely that the cost of a design patent would have been worth the benefit.
 
...although I do not know it for a 'fact', that the key guards in question would infringe on any utility patents, simply because the purpose and function of any key guard would be "obvious", and thus not patentable under most patent laws.

A design patent might have been infringed, simply because the shape may have been improperly copied in a direct, imitative form, but not a patent in the normally understood form. And, unless the originator of the key guard in question was "patent happy", it's unlikely that the cost of a design patent would have been worth the benefit.
I actually dabble in understanding the intricacies of intellectual property law as I find it somewhat facinating (and innane).

Could the appearance of keyguards fall under trademark protections if they were so registered? I understand that the general design of guitar bodies and headstocks can and I would guess trademark be more applicable since the design of keyguards is more asthetic than function in this case.....

plus, patents are good for what, 30 years? Trademarks only expire in the US if the owner stops defending it.

:)
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Keilwerth, yes. SX90 straight alto and tenor (see attached pics). H-Couf? I've not seen one.

=============

I've got a 1958 and 1959 catalog of Keilwerth's horns. The '59 one's in German, but already online. The '58 one's got much smaller pics and has fairly illegible copy.

Hey, Helen: the 1959 catalog's interesting because it's got the "angel wing" models AND both New King and Toneking models are listed. The other fun thing is that the bari -- New King only -- has sheet metal keyguards. Makes that bari you sent me pics of more interesting!
someone told me a story years ago that some guy approached Mr Couf and told him of his idea of a straight alto and tenor. So ... since Mr Couf had the ability and backing he had JK produce some straight altos/tenors ... I guess at the undelight of the other person.
 
According to Uwe Ladwig's research article of JK, the metal angel wings were actually standard issue on the horns sold for export to the US. Now, according to this catalogue, it seems they offered them as an option for at least its German customers, if not all of its European ones.

If you check out what Gerhard Keilwerth sells in his shop, you will often see his restored Tonekings or The New Kings with these metal angel wings. Herr Keilwerth has replacement wings that he puts on the horns he restores if the original Lucite ones are broken or missing. Sometimes he includes both sets of guards just because.

This is an example of what I'm talking about. This was actually the tenor I was tempted to buy (but I ended up buying a minty Hohner President locally instead). Notice the replacement guard is mounted on the horn that is done in metal, but GK included the original Lucite guard as well.
Thanks, that's the one I saw. Didn't check the seller out, but they're good people. Often see saxes frm them on ebay. I used to think it was a chancer, lifting the name, until I checked them out properly. I buy my pads from them. Always sent out same day. Usually here the next.
 
...although I do not know it for a 'fact', that the key guards in question would infringe on any utility patents, simply because the purpose and function of any key guard would be "obvious", and thus not patentable under most patent laws.

A design patent might have been infringed, simply because the shape may have been improperly copied in a direct, imitative form, but not a patent in the normally understood form. And, unless the originator of the key guard in question was "patent happy", it's unlikely that the cost of a design patent would have been worth the benefit.
The patent is specifically for the use of 'Plexiglass or other plastics' to replace wire or sheet steel. It's not really for the design.
 
plus, patents are good for what, 30 years? Trademarks only expire in the US if the owner stops defending it.

:)
15 for a patent here.

The logo would be OK as a trademark, but not the guards, especially not in the 50s when the patent was granted.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Different strokes...

The Germans take a slightly different attitude to their patenting process than we do here. I've never applied for a German one, but have read about some of the differences when I did my US patent.

The "use of Plexiglas" aspect might (depending on the era) make it past the US process. I had to "design around" Nylon as part of my hook and loop fastener ligature. The examiner I was assigned (Ben Buller, a very, very nice guy who helped me a lot) pointed out that you did not want to be too material specific for too many things, as once you were pinned down in your claims ("use of Plexiglas" rather than "materials such as plastic, metal or carbon fiber reenforced matrix" (to go all modern on everyone)) gives you much greater latitude (and stronger claims that are harder in turn for others to "design around".)

I just bought the updated version of Patent It Yourself, a Nolo Press title, that covers all of what you need to obtain a pro se ('without benefit of attorney') patent. You learn a lot, and it was almost fun to do (if you like writing to a specification). My greatest accomplishment was being able to describe a helical winding without resorting to diagrams. (Patent drawings are usually required, and they certainly help visualize the concept, but the core of the patent is the written claims - it all has to be in there.)

Buying a copy of Patent It Yourself, even if you are not interested in pursuing your own patent, will give you a good founding in this almost alien "art".
 
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