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Boehm and Mendler

Munchen, Germany

Stamp: Stamped on upper tenon: BOEHM & MENDLER/M�NCHEN

Marks: No marks visible under keys.

Manufacture Date: The Boehm and Mendler wooden flutes achieved perfection once Carl Mendler moved from foreman to partner, around 1860. This model served as the inspiration for the entire American flute industry until the Louis Lot model took over in the 1920's. By 1860 Boehm had been buying wooden tubes without keys from Louis Lot for several years. Interestingly, Lot never mentions Mendler in his record books.

Hallmarks: No hallmarks.

Comments: The Boehm and Mendler mechanism is fascinating. It changed very little after they developed their successful model, in the late 1850's. The Boehm and Mendler flute is based on the work of Godfroy and Lot, yet with distinctive and elegant Germanic traits. Of course, the acoustical ideas of Boehm are also included, which required a lovely new clutch at the Bb thumb key, and the beautifully simple offset, open G#. Mendler and Boehm designed their elegant covered-key cups, and the little balls to hold adjusting screws. They basically used Lotfroy's pinned footjoint, but with rollers. Mendler's mechanism differs from Lot's also in the backclutch. B & M were able to eliminate one of the three spades Lot used, for the F# key. The back clutch is here used only to get around the kingpost for the Bb connection. The F# clutches are the little balls, which push on knuckles pinned to the F# rod. Boehm and Mendler used another ball on the F key, instead of Lot's middle spade on the back clutch. This flute has an interesting pedigree. It was brought to us by the son of the former owner of the famous Baxter Northrop music store in Los Angeles, around which so much of the history of flute playing in Los Angeles revolved. This is the last instrument in the family's collection. It was probably brought in on trade many years ago, and clearly has not been used much since. The owners before Baxter Northrop are unknown.

Material: The wood is a deeply grained blackwood with reddish streaks; probably grenadilla. The keys and trim are silver. The springs are gold (except two steel replacements), and most look originalish. The crutch and holder are missing.

System: Full Boehm, with open G# and Boehm Bb. Foot to C.

Condition: This flute appears to have been very well used, with only minor signs of advancing age. Alas, the embouchure appears to have been opened on the edges; a sort of primitive Cooperization. There is a small barrel crack on the headjoint, and the footjoint sockets. The head crack is short, and the foot crack of course goes into the D# hole. Both have old glue. There was some action around the Bb key, whose tube looks a bit different, the soldering is not Mendler's, and the Bb adjustment screw was overused. Overall, this instrument radiates the pure craftsmanship of Carl Mendler, one of the great flutemakers of all time.

Pitch: Seems pitched at around A=448-452.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 585 mm.


Weight: 433

Case: With non-original case.

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