Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Stamp: On headjoint: (8 pointed star) / GEISLER / AMSTERDAM / (8 pointed star)
Manufacture Date: Geisler and his son worked in Amsterdam from 1840 to 1920 (Langwill). This stunningly beautiful flute is a curious flute to date via the mechanism. The footjoint is based on the old Godfroy 1832 system of the late '30's. The springs are flat steel, possibly a technique Geisler learned in Munich during his 1822-1825 job with Stiegler (Langwill). The G# is Dorus, yet the back clutch is bold, discrete and complete. Thus the flute is made after 1851 or so (the back clutch) but probably not after 1870, when the Dorus G# was well on the way out. The thumb key is the double hole Briccialdi type of Lot and Godfroy after 1849. The old style springs and footjoint, married with the up-to-date clutch system, in a flute almost entirely based on the Lot/Godfroy design, makes for a lovely and elegant flute with modern features for 1860 or so, yet a strong taste of a glorious past. Geisler Senior would have been 59 in 1869; his son 23. This flute is clearly the work of the father at the height of his career.
Comments: This flute is of the very highest quality, and is a superb example of Dutch flutemaking in the 19th century. It is decorative, very carefully made, and beautifully presented. The mechanism is based on Lot, but the small tonehole sizes suggest Buffet, the other great Parisian maker of these flutes. The mechanism marries the most up to date elements, such as the backclutch and thumb Bb, with vestiges of the past, such as the footjoint design, and even the ivory mouthpiece. The Dorus G# was still in general use in Paris when this flute was made, I suspect.
Material: This elegant flute is made with an ivory adorned headjoint, the ivory being a 2.63" long ivory tube sandwiched on the headjoint for the embouchure. Against the dark and rich wood, the ivory is beautiful. The trim is silver, the keys are silver, the springs are flat steel. There are no pad washers. The cork and screw parts are turned wood. The cork is a full cork, in this case with an added section of cork. The pads are modern white skin pads, except the D#, which is leather, and the low C, which looks older.
System: This clear work of art from Amsterdam is built on the Boehm 1832 system as made by Godfroy and Lot, taking design elements from the Godfroy/Lot flutes throughout their output from c.1836 to c. 1860, when this flute was probably made. The foot is to C, with the side-by-side arms and overlapping armrest clutch, accompanied by the "kidney" shaped D# key, as used on the first models of the Godfroy 1832 system. The right hand mechanism has the two conjoined rings over the E and F holes, with a fully completed back clutch, invented by Godfroy and Lot around 1849. The design of the backclutch is very square, compared to Godfroy. and this is continued in the square tops of the arms on the thumb key, where Godfroy had his famous ball. The swirling Bb over the two-hole C on the thumb is classic Lot / Godfroy from the 1850's. The headjoint, with the large ivory section, is a throwback to a more decorative age. The ivory piece is only a few millimeters thick, and slides from the top of the headjoint over the wooden headjoint, which has been turned down from the bottom end of the ivory to the top of the flute. Under the crown ring one can see that a piece of wood has been turned to fit over the thinned headjoint, and slid on to meet up with the ivory. It is astounding that this instrument has maintained such good condition over the years.
Condition: There are a few hairline cracks in the headjoint around the socket (repaired here). The rest of the flute is in perfect condition.
Pitch: The pitch seems around A=440-444.
Sounding Length: Sounding length 564 mm.
Weight: 380 g.
Case: In the beautiful original case, fitted precisely for this flute (although the headjoint enjoys extra space). Exterior of faded black leather over wood, interior of red velvet cloth with fitted sections for each piece.