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922

J. Pfaff

Philadelphia

Stamp: On upper body: (curved) J (?) PFAFF / (straight) PHILA

Comments: This is an unusual Pfaff flute, having a one piece body and foot design. It seems later in the century than most Pfaffs, and made with hints of Pratten and Meyer. The unlined headjoint is sweet, and the thin wooden upper barrel joint very stylish. The keywork is reminiscent of the earlier Pfaff flutes, and some interesting things have been done with the springs, especially at the lower C#.

Material: Made of brown grenadilla (?) wood, with German silver keys and mounts. Wood turned corkscrew, with wooden disk on inside cork end. Brass tuning slide mounted in head ("French style"), headjoint otherwise unlined. Springs flat brass. Bottom ring missing.

System: This is an eight keyed flute with a rare one piece body and foot design. It is a medium sized hole model, with minimum undercutting. The headjoint is unlined. The embouchure is oval (9.9 x 11.7 mm), broadly undercut and with a careful overcutting at the outside edges. The foot keys for C and C# are uniquely clutched with an extension of the brass spring for the C#.

Condition: This instrument is well used, yet in fine condition. This flute appears to be made at high, but not too high, pitch, and will play at A=440 with the headjoint out about 11 mm. Bottom ring missing.

Pitch: Seems pitched at A=448; plays at A=440 when out about 11 mm.

Sounding Length: Sounding length fully compressed: 585 mm.

Measurements: Embouchure 9.9 x 11.7 mm.

Weight: 358 g.

Case: No case.

Sold.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

 John Pfaff was born to a family of instrument makers specializing in instruments for the street musicians! John moved to Baltimore around 1841, and was in Philadelphia between 1843 and c. 1888 (Langwill).  His brother George Michael Pfaff was also a flutemaker, until 1862, when he invented the sewing machine!  The pfamous Pfaff sewing machine  is therefore nothing but an evolved flute!
John Pfaff was born to a family of instrument makers specializing in instruments for the street musicians! John moved to Baltimore around 1841, and was in Philadelphia between 1843 and c. 1888 (Langwill). His brother George Michael Pfaff was also a flutemaker, until 1862, when he invented the sewing machine! The pfamous Pfaff sewing machine is therefore nothing but an evolved flute!
The foot and body are of one piece.  The D# key is shaped in a sort of Belgian-Franco-Germanic fashion.
The foot and body are of one piece. The D# key is shaped in a sort of Belgian-Franco-Germanic fashion.
The handsome
The handsome "footjoint" takes inspiration from the popular Meyer factory instruments, with a little local flair. This is not the best-made flute in the world, but it does offer a unique outlook. Perhaps it was made in the home town family workshop in Kaiserslautern, Germany, just outside of Worms.
This little F key is cute, especially how Pfaff moved the key to the right side of the rod, so the post is not in the way of the finger.
This little F key is cute, especially how Pfaff moved the key to the right side of the rod, so the post is not in the way of the finger.
The long F touch snuggles over the G# key, which is mounted in the typical German 45% angle.  A robust playing of the F seems to tickle open the G#.
The long F touch snuggles over the G# key, which is mounted in the typical German 45% angle. A robust playing of the F seems to tickle open the G#.
The embouchure is sweet and unassuming, giving voice to this simple yet elegant instrument.
The embouchure is sweet and unassuming, giving voice to this simple yet elegant instrument.
The cork screw extends through the revolving cap, giving the in and out adjustments different players prefer.
The cork screw extends through the revolving cap, giving the in and out adjustments different players prefer.
The wood covered tuning slide slips up inside the headjoint.  When pulled it gets longer, giving the lower pitches.
The wood covered tuning slide slips up inside the headjoint. When pulled it gets longer, giving the lower pitches.