Harry B. Jay Co. Columbia Trumpet




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Harry B. Jay Company
Chicago, Illinois
Columbia Model Trumpet
#7456 c.1925

I am always hoping to come across beautiful craftsmanship, and this Columbia trumpet really shows of the engraver's and plater's skill. The trumpet, as these first photos show, really seemed to be in excellent original condition so I picked this up as part of my small collection of original instruments. It even came with a case in good condition, yet sadly missing the correct mouthpiece.

Here it is as I found it.

Harry Jay Trumpet Chicago

Here is the same trumpet from their 1920 catalog

As I studied this horn and compared it to other photos I had of Jay trumpets I began to wonder if a restoration project was really in store for me with this one. There were a number of details that just didn't look right compared to photos and to another Jay trumpet I had recently worked on.

The first obvious problem was the finger buttons. They looked pretty and gold plated but didn't match the ones common to Jay horns and didn't thread in as well as they should. Here is a close up of the buttons on mine followed bythe normal ones.

Not even a close match and the knurled part should be vertical, not angled.

The next obvious oddity was the lead pipe. All his popular Cornet-trumpets had an interchangable lead pipe to switch from cornet to trumpet mouthpiece yet none of the trumpets have this. Here is my lead pipe followed by the cornet followed by a normal trumpet from Jay.

If this originally had a fixed lead pipe then the bell brace should be further back yet there is no evidence of this on the bell; only some sloppy solder work suggesting that the bell had been off at some time.

Here is what the trumpet is supposed to look like. Was mine a one-off special order?

The next thing I found was that the bottom caps have numbers that don't match the horn. They feel very close to being threaded right but not quite.

Here are the correct caps - quite a different style.

The third slide puzzled me a bit as most Jay trumpets have a fixed ring yet this appeared to be original with an adjustable ring. Close inspection showed me that the two cross branch braces didn't match; implying that the slide part was not original. When I used an original slide from another horn I found that the bottom branch matched yet the top branch didn't. Someone had replaced the entire slide then also changed the top inner pipe in order to make it work right.

Even the holder for the stop rod does not match.

Below is the correct piece as it should look. The ferrules should have a double line design and the knob should look like an acorn.

The second slide appeared to just have a replacement knob yet measuring the bore revealed that the entire slide and branches had been replaced and there was a little evidence of solder to confirm this. The ferrules on this are also wrong.

Here is what the design should look like from the first slide.

One last thing to check was the water key. Was this gold one correct?

Thankfully at least this appears to be correct.

Since I bought this only for its beautiful engraving I wasn't too upset since it does still look great but it's a lesson of buyer beware. Now that I have studied Jay instruments more I can see the obvious changes so now it's on to finding the right parts horns to restore this properly.

Here is the trumpet with two donor horns I bought for it. Let's see if I have enough parts to make it right. The amazing thing is that the lower trumpet has serial #7458; only two away from mine!

I ended up using mostly parts from #7458 as that matched exactly. The first thing to change was the finger pads. Now that looks much better.

I polished up both sets of bottom caps and decided to use those from #7458.

Here is the third slide installed from #7458. I had to also remove the upper, inner branch and switch that as the one on mine had a larger bore than it should have. Now the two cross braces match and I have the correct knob and finger ring.

Here is the second side now restored. I used both the slide and sleeves to make mine correct again as the other ones had a larger bore and longer sleeves. Thankfully, despite being in really bad condition, the parts horn had an undamaged slide.

Here is the lead pipe cleaned up and some sloppy solder removed from the bell.

All polished and playing great!

Harry B Jay Columbia Trumpet Gold Plated Chicago

Here are some updated photos from 2023 after adding an original mouthpiece and correct round screw ends for the pipe clamps.

Harry Jay Trumpet Columbia

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay Columbia Trumpet

Jay trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Chicago

Jay Trumpet Columbia Chicago