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809

Louis Lot

Paris, France

Stamp: On headjoint: L. L. / LOUIS LOT / PARIS/ 3340 / BREVETÉ. On body: L. L. / LOUIS LOT / PARIS/ BREVETÉ. Foot unstamped.

Comments: Julius Baker tried to buy this flute in the early 1940's. It is clear why. This is the very finest of the Villette flutes we have seen. The construction is perfect. The condition is perfect. The tone is firm, yet disciplined. This instrument seems perfectly balanced throughout, with no change of character between the low, middle, and upper ranges. This is one of the special flutes from the Louis Lot company. This instrument is not listed in the remaining Louis Lot record books. It first came to light around 1938, when the current owner purchased it from a professional shop in Philadelphia. For three years he used it, while having Verne Powell maintain it. Powell showed the flute to Wm. Kincaid, who thought the embouchure was too small for his taste. Julius Baker also got wind of this flute, and had his brother approach the owner to purchase this instrument. The owner declined. A short while later, in March of 1941, the current owner purchased a new Powell flute. This Louis Lot has laid idle ever since. It was recently completely restored by the very talented and well know Louis Lot technician Gary Lewis.

Material: This very beautiful flute is made of silver, with an 18k gold lipplate and chimney. The springs are of gold, including the flat springs under the thumb keys. The grommets are gilt, and the pad washers are of the screw, leather, flat washer type.

System: Model 6, silver flute with B foot. B touch completely independent, yet part of the "pinless" footjoint cluster. Gold embouchure, gold springs. Bb trill. This is what we call a "Villette system" flute. Shortly after Louis lot retired in 1876, Henri Villette changed the firm's design to include adjusting screws at the back clutch and shoulder clutches, while eliminating the F# tail in the backclutch. This is unquestionably the finest flute of this system we have seen.

Condition: This flute comes to us after a complete and very expert overhaul by Gary Lewis, a Louis Lot specialist of Portland, OR. It is currently in perfect playing condition. Previous repairs have included a shortening, and re-lengthening, of the headjoint tenon (the latter probably by Verne Powell), and changing the pad washers to the Munich screw-type, also probably by Powell. Small bits of lead solder on the lower main post are an anomaly.

Pitch: Plays at A=440 perfectly, thanks to the adjusted headjoint tenon, and the original amazing quality of the instrument. The distance between the C# and E holes on the main body seems to be long enough for a scale of A=435.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 643 mm.

Measurements: Scale length 228 mm. Emb. 11.8 x 10.1 mm. Chimney 4.9 mm. Wall angle 7 degrees.

Weight: 421 g.

Case: In very nice case, possibly from the days under Powell's care.

Sold.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

The 18k gold lipplate is engraved with a garland of grape leaves.  The lipplate appears to have never been removed or altered.
The 18k gold lipplate is engraved with a garland of grape leaves. The lipplate appears to have never been removed or altered.
Here we see Villette’s adaptation of Boehm and Mendler’s “shoulder balls” to Villette’s “hanging T” clutch.  Boehm used Lot’s shoulder clutches at the E and F holes, but Villette brought the lower shoulder up to the next one, to rest on a T shaped piece hanging down from the pin and extending under the key to the right, and the shoulder ball to the left.  Two adjusting screws from the rear lift the ball, or the key.
Here we see Villette’s adaptation of Boehm and Mendler’s “shoulder balls” to Villette’s “hanging T” clutch. Boehm used Lot’s shoulder clutches at the E and F holes, but Villette brought the lower shoulder up to the next one, to rest on a T shaped piece hanging down from the pin and extending under the key to the right, and the shoulder ball to the left. Two adjusting screws from the rear lift the ball, or the key.
The pin in the F# arm (at left) replaced the middle spade of the traditional back clutch.  This system was actually developed by Boehm and Mendler in the mid 1850’s as their “nach Godfroy” flutes!  It is wonderful to see it now adapted by the Lot company.
The pin in the F# arm (at left) replaced the middle spade of the traditional back clutch. This system was actually developed by Boehm and Mendler in the mid 1850’s as their “nach Godfroy” flutes! It is wonderful to see it now adapted by the Lot company.
The shoulder clutch for the Bb has an adjustment screw on the backside.  The keywork is perfect, including the turned posts.
The shoulder clutch for the Bb has an adjustment screw on the backside. The keywork is perfect, including the turned posts.
William Bennett (left) and Gary Lewis.
Gary is showing Wibb his removable retuning system on a Bonneville flute at the NFA Convention in San Diego, 2005.
Gary Lewis, a well known specialist in French flutes, is the restorationist for Louis Lot #3340.
William Bennett (left) and Gary Lewis. Gary is showing Wibb his removable retuning system on a Bonneville flute at the NFA Convention in San Diego, 2005. Gary Lewis, a well known specialist in French flutes, is the restorationist for Louis Lot #3340.
Here we have the beautiful Villette B footjoint.  The pinned foot of Lot has been upgraded to the pinless mechanism using an extra rod for C, and in this case a dedicated and completely independent rod for low B.  The C touch overhangs an “elbow patch” on the C# touch, so they both close when the C is closed, but the B touch is vaulted over the main rod.  The low B key can therefore be closed without closing the other keys, such as with the “gizmo” today.
Here we have the beautiful Villette B footjoint. The pinned foot of Lot has been upgraded to the pinless mechanism using an extra rod for C, and in this case a dedicated and completely independent rod for low B. The C touch overhangs an “elbow patch” on the C# touch, so they both close when the C is closed, but the B touch is vaulted over the main rod. The low B key can therefore be closed without closing the other keys, such as with the “gizmo” today.
The Lot thumb key has now moved beyond the  complications of the B trill, thanks to the growing preference for a Bb trill key.  The bottom thumb piece is shortened, to end before the upper piece slips under the tail for the Bb.  This thumb key could not have been altered from a B trill, as evidenced by the overhang from the Bb tail, seen at right; this would have been in the way.
The Lot thumb key has now moved beyond the complications of the B trill, thanks to the growing preference for a Bb trill key. The bottom thumb piece is shortened, to end before the upper piece slips under the tail for the Bb. This thumb key could not have been altered from a B trill, as evidenced by the overhang from the Bb tail, seen at right; this would have been in the way.
This cluster, from left-to-right, is the Bb touch, soldered to the tail from the backclutch, which is pinned to the steel inside-rod (which is connected to the Bb key).  The rounded “kingpost” follows, which forms the separation of the left hand and right hand mechanisms and necessitates the backclutch.  The F key is pinned to the lower steel inside rod, which is also pinned to the hanging T.  The last arm of the cluster is connected to the key to the right, and overlies a shoulder under this key.  Yet another adjustment screw is in the overlay.
This cluster, from left-to-right, is the Bb touch, soldered to the tail from the backclutch, which is pinned to the steel inside-rod (which is connected to the Bb key). The rounded “kingpost” follows, which forms the separation of the left hand and right hand mechanisms and necessitates the backclutch. The F key is pinned to the lower steel inside rod, which is also pinned to the hanging T. The last arm of the cluster is connected to the key to the right, and overlies a shoulder under this key. Yet another adjustment screw is in the overlay.
Here is a view of the unique F# shoulder clutch.  The angled spring catch is especially unique.  This is an innovation of Villette, struggling to make French a German idea.  Villette’s extraordinary craftsmanship, devotion, and creativity almost forced him to try something new when Lot retired, and this is it.Here is a view of the unique F# shoulder clutch. The angled spring catch is especially unique. This is an innovation of Villette, struggling to make French a German idea. Villette’s extraordinary craftsmanship, devotion, and creativity almost forced him to try something new when Lot retired, and this is it.