Wurlitzer Alto Horn

Rudolph Wurlitzer Eb Solo Alto Horn
Cincinnati, Ohio

This is an Eb Solo Alto made by Wurlitzer Brothers that matches one shown in their catalog of 1880. Rudolph Wurlitzer started his instrument supply business in 1856 as a dealer of German made instruments probably from his native Saxony. He was joined by his brother Anton in 1872 to become R. Wurlitzer & Brother. This lasted until 1890 when it incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company.

I have not been able to find another one like this so likely very rare. It is listed in the 1880 catalog as #2593 Solo Alto with side action rotary valves and selling for $23 in plain brass with German silver trim. It came with a wood case which is probably original.

The main problem is the missing tuning slide which makes this more difficult to restore. I had not tried making a curved tube but decided to give it a try. It is also missing the finger hook on the bell and has two outer pipes with cracks at the joints. The first two photos are as I bought it.

Wurlitzer Solo Alto Horn 1

Wurlitzer Alto horn 2

The missing slide needed to be 0.51" OD but the closest I had was 0.5" so that will have to work for now. I tempered the pipe first then taped off the end and poured water with dish detergent in it. Once frozen I took it to the shop and bent it around two wood blocks that my father made with grooves in them to match the pipe. The only thing that I would change if doing it over again would be to make the blocks a little smaller than needed since it springs back a little after bending. The next three photos show the new piece.

Tube Bending

Wurlitzer Alto horn

Not perfect but it works great. The inner slides are original but the ferrules were broken so I added two silver plated ones from my scrap bin.

Here is the finished horn. It plays great and thankfully the valves work fine.

Wurlitzer Alto Horn

Wurlitzer Brothers Alto horn

Wurlitzer Alto horn

Wurlitzer Alto horn 1880

The last piece of the job was to make a new finger hook to mount on the bell. Robb Stewart was kind enough to send me a photo of his jig so I made my own this morning using an anchor bolt bent to a "J" and a brass rod turned on the lathe. A strip of nickel silver was pounded into the form then trimmed and sanded into a nice hook. The shape was patterned after the lines left on the bell from the original hook.