Coeuille Cornet

Ferdinand Coeuille Bb Cornet
Telescope model
Camden, NJ

Here is a very rare Bb cornet that I picked up in 2016 and labeled, "Telescope Made By F. Coeuille Camden NJ" on the bell and serial #1102 on the second valve. I could only find three other examples of this cornet and it appears to be the only model he made.

Ferdinand Coeuille Portrait
Ferdinand Coeuille
Courtesy of great-grandson David Nutter

Ferdinand Coeuille was born in France in 1850 and emigrated to the US in 1879. I have read that he was recruited by Henry Distin to work at the J.W. Pepper factory in Philadelphia until 1886 when he was first listed on his own . His Philadelphia address was 1215 Spring Garden Street until sometime after 1890 then by the 1900 Census he has moved to Camden, NJ and goes under the name Frederick. His home in 1906 was at 804 North 27th Street in Camden. Cornet #917 has his NJ location at Cramer Hill as well as also being marked for Philadelphia. Cramer Hill was separate until March of 1899 when it became part of Camden. He lived at four different locations but always stayed in the Cramer Hill area.

In about 1907, Ferdinand forms a partnership with cornet player Frank Seltzer to make band instruments and publish music. Named Coeuille-Seltzer, the company lasted about four years before Coeuille's bad health and financial struggles ended it. Existing music written by Seltzer and published by them dates from 1907-1908. They were located at 225 North 10th Street in Philadelphia.

Coeuille developed his Telescope model cornet which borrows Distin's patent from 1882 for the downward slant of the tubing between the valves which allows for a straight through flow for the air passage. He also made his own mouthpiece which thankfully my cornet still has. It is marked "F. Coeuille Philadelphia Pat. Apld. For" then the #2. This unusual mouthpiece has a dual angle to the cup. Another one of these mouthpieces that I found a photo of has the Seltzer name on it also so perhaps these are from the 1907-1911 period.

Here is the cornet with most of the restoration done.

Coueille Cornet a

This was in really rough shape when I got it with a bent bell, broken tuning shank, stuck slides, stuck valves and two missing bottom caps. The next four photos are as I found it.

Coueille Cornet b

Coueille Cornet Camden NJ

Coeuille Cornet Camden

Coueille cornet

Here it is with the major work done and just cleaned. The bell still needs some work as it tilts down in the front a little and the back curve is not as nice as I would like it. The shaft of the tuning shank was cracked so I replaced it with one from the parts bin. With a little sliver plating polish it looks a bit better. Thankfully the valves work fine and seem pretty tight. I was able to find a set of bottom caps that match close enough to the style.

coeuille cornet camden nj

coeuille cornet telescope

The water key and valve caps look like they had a gold wash originally which has faded.

coeuille telescope cornet camden

Here you can see better the Telescope design which has a low inlet to the valves and flows up to the bell without any turns. This makes for taller than normal valves.

A nice engraving and this plays pretty well. I will post more history as I find it.

Here is an envelope that he used to promote his business.

Coeuille Letter Telescope

Following are the other cornets that I have found images of.

#498 (or 408), Philadelphia on both the bell & 2nd valve, unplated
Coeuille Cornet #498

#917, Philadelphia on the 2nd valve, Cramer Hill, NJ on the bell
Coeuille Cornet #917

The next two have no numbers listed but are likely from Camden as they are silver plated just like mine and the one has the same gold wash on the water key and caps.

Here is another example of his mouthpiece. The first one has the Coeuille name on one side and Seltzer's name on the other with a #1

Here you can see his unique double taper to the cup.

Please send any photos and information you have on any of his instruments.