Besson Trumpet
 

Besson / Carl Fischer Trumpet

Here is an incredibly engraved Trumpet made by Besson & Co. of London. I bought it off the internet when it was very badly tarnished but I could tell that the engraving was special and I suspected from the color that this was gold plated.

The serial number is 105184 which dates this to about 1920. It is labeled Class A Prototype New Creation and was sold, like all Besson instruments at that time, through Carl Fischer of New York. It has a key change valve for Bb to A but the original lever is missing so for now I keep it at Bb.

Here it is as purchased in 2015.

Besson Trumpet

The only problems with it were a crushed 2nd valve slide, the missing key change lever, and a bell that had been hit from the side as evidenced by the cross brace in front of the valves having been pushed into the bell. A silver plated instrument would be black all over but this looked gold except for the engraving. There is some wear through the plating on the 1st valve so I could tell this was well used in the past.

Besson Trumpet Bell

After a bath in silver cleaner and some light hand polishing this really came out great and is gold plated. There are a number of tiny dots where the plating is deteriorating but overall this looks good.

Besson New Creation Trumpet

Besson Gold Plated Trumpet

The amazing engraving includes a bird, American flag, US shield, and even a portrait of Abraham Lincoln!

Besson Trumpet Engraving

Besson Trumpet Lincoln Engraving

Besson Trumpet Engraving

You can see some of the deterioration of the plating on the inside of the bell showing as small dark spots but what an engraving.

Besson Trumpet Engraving

Besson Trumpet Engraving

The engraving covers every part of this including the little slide on the key change valve. I don't know what the "4" stands for but the bore is about 0.44" so quite small. This plays well but I found that to get the valves aligned correctly, there is so little felt on the inside that the valves all clunk when they come to the top of their motion. This means that the spring bases are hitting bottom just as the alignment is correct. I find it hard to believe that Besson would leave so little room in the design.

This has a length of 18-7/8" and a bell of 4-11/16". The bell flare is so small that this does not set well on a regular trumpet stand and the mutes don't fit well.

The bell seems to have been engraved before mounting yet it's engraved into the plating. Perhaps they engraved it while mounted and made it look like it goes under the braces. What I would give to go back in time and watch this being done!

Besson Trumpet Engraving