A. G. Badger
New York, USA
Stamp: In gold shield on barrel: (Gothic) A. G. Badger / (Script) Maker / New York. Additionally on upper body: (Gothic) J. Howard Foote. / SOLE AGENT / New York & Chicago. / 2509
Manufacture Date: Made c. 1880-1892 (Simpson's dating of the stamp).
Hallmarks: No hallmarks.
Comments: The most striking element of this instrument is the adaptation of the flute to a 20 mm bore. Theobald Boehm experimented with this size bore in the 1860's. Dayton C. Miller commented on this in one of his informative asides from The Flute and Flute Playing: "[In a letter written in 1867 Boehm says: "I have made several flutes with a bore 20 millimeters in diameter, therefore one millimeter wider than usual; the first and second octaves were better, but of course the third octave was not so good...." [The silver flute with a wood headjoint which is shown in figure 32 has a bore of 20 millimeters; it is the only flute in C of this bore which the translator has seen...]" This Badger flute is considerably more massive than the "Shippen" flute, by Boehm and Mendler, which Miller illustrates on plate 32, if my memory serves me correctly. Nonetheless, it is unquestionably a response to Boehm's work, down to the ebonite head (instead of Boehm's wood). In spite of Boehm's unwitting influence, this instrument is a new flute design altogether. This unique flute, with its extremely full and rich lower registers, not only adds a new chapter to American flutemaking, but a new chapter to the flute-tone itself. No mention has heretofore been made of a Badger flute with 20mm bore.
Material: Made of silver (probably coin silver), with ebonite headjoint. Cork screw of cocus wood, silver tipped.
System: This unique flute is built with a 20 mm bore, very large tone holes, a heavy tube, and foot to low Bb. It is a closed-hole, offset G flute with B trill. The low B is left-pinkie operated. There is a Mother-of-Pearl finger rest (� la Boehm) for the left index. The backclutch is Boehm's two-piece design. Open foot keys height (except Bb) adjustable with Badger's unique screw. Toneholes graduated from 14 mm at B hole. Footjoint toneholes an unbelievable 18 mm. E hole 16 mm. Thumb crutch holder remains, but the crutch is gone. This flute clearly shows Badger's continuing interest in Boehm's flute designing. In the 1860's Boehm experimented with the 20 mm bore, as well as perfected the use of wooden headjoints on silver flutes.
Condition: This instrument is in excellent, unaltered condition. The ebonite headjoint has matured to the usual pea-soup color, otherwise signs of modest use only.
Pitch: I believe this flute was pitched at A=448. Some adjustment is available with the headjoint, but it seems to loose effect down south when the sound reaches the bottom of this very large bore flute.
Sounding Length: Sounding length 660 mm. Scale length 217 mm. Distance from emb to C key 230 mm.
Case: In later, very nice, solid wood case.