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910

Graves (piccolo)

Winchester, N.H., USA

Stamp: On headjoint: (eagle) / (curved) GRAVES & Co / WINCHESTER / N. H. / (space) D. On midjoint and footjoint: (curved) GRAVES & Co / WINCHESTER / N. H.

Comments: Any instrument from the famous Graves workshop is important, and this piccolo marries historicity with excellence of construction. It seems clear that this is not an import, since the ivory rings are unique.

Material: This lovely piccolo is made of the light wood we call American Boxwood, since we have never satisfactorily identified it. The wood is stained brown. The one key is brass, the flat pad leather, the spring also of brass. The uniquely shaped rings are of ivory.

System: This is a one-keyed piccolo in D, pitched at around A=440. The cork is free, and the cap friction-fit.

Condition: The condition of this little piccolo is excellent. There are no cracks in the wood, and only the ivory crown has a crack among the ivories. The embouchure hole is modestly worn, but not enlarged.

Pitch: Seems pitched at A=440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 264 mm.

Measurements: Embouchure 8x7.3 mm.

Weight: 64 g.

Case: No case.

Sold.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

The Graves & Co stamp, with the full eagle above, carries an almost mythological mystique among American musical instrument makers.  Nestled in the woods in the far southwestern corner of New Hampshire, the Graves brothers used a mill on the Ashuelot river to run their factory.
The Graves & Co stamp, with the full eagle above, carries an almost mythological mystique among American musical instrument makers. Nestled in the woods in the far southwestern corner of New Hampshire, the Graves brothers used a mill on the Ashuelot river to run their factory.
This sweet little piccolo was made to fine standards, and remains in lovely condition.  The unique shape of the ivory crown is carried through the instrument on all the ivories.
This sweet little piccolo was made to fine standards, and remains in lovely condition. The unique shape of the ivory crown is carried through the instrument on all the ivories.
This is a one-keyed piccolo; not unusual in America when this was made.  The Ashuelot water mill was used to make woodwinds between 1830 to c.1845, when they stopped with the woodwinds and concentrated on brasses.  In 1850 the workshop was damaged by fire and the firm moved to Boston (extrapolated from Langwill).
This is a one-keyed piccolo; not unusual in America when this was made. The Ashuelot water mill was used to make woodwinds between 1830 to c.1845, when they stopped with the woodwinds and concentrated on brasses. In 1850 the workshop was damaged by fire and the firm moved to Boston (extrapolated from Langwill).
The tone holes are finished with a studied yet modest undercutting.  The scale is clearly deliberate, with the little E hole on the right, the larger F# hole in the middle, and the medium G hole to the left.  The E hole is little because there is actually twice the musical space between the E and F# as between the holes for F# and G; making the hole little allows it to be placed more comfortably on the flute, and helps vent the F#.
The tone holes are finished with a studied yet modest undercutting. The scale is clearly deliberate, with the little E hole on the right, the larger F# hole in the middle, and the medium G hole to the left. The E hole is little because there is actually twice the musical space between the E and F# as between the holes for F# and G; making the hole little allows it to be placed more comfortably on the flute, and helps vent the F#.
The midjoint and footjoint have condensed versions of the Graves & Co stamp, absent the grand eagle.  The curious ivory theme can be seen, as well as another lovely tone hole.
The midjoint and footjoint have condensed versions of the Graves & Co stamp, absent the grand eagle. The curious ivory theme can be seen, as well as another lovely tone hole.
The only crack on the flute is here on the ivory crown.  This crown is friction-fitted to the flute, and the cork is freestanding.
The only crack on the flute is here on the ivory crown. This crown is friction-fitted to the flute, and the cork is freestanding.
Winchester, N. H. lies in the southwestern most corner of the state, just up the Ashuelot river from the Connecticut river, which is the border with Vermont.
Winchester, N. H. lies in the southwestern most corner of the state, just up the Ashuelot river from the Connecticut river, which is the border with Vermont.
Downtown Winchester, with the likely mill location near the S curve at the top of the photo.  This workshop was quintessentially off the beaten track.
Downtown Winchester, with the likely mill location near the S curve at the top of the photo. This workshop was quintessentially off the beaten track.