Cornet in B-flat
American, 19th century
By Graves & Company
Boston, ca. 1855
Graves and Company was the largest and most important manufacturer of wind instruments in America during the first half of the 19th century. The firm had a more extensive catalogue of types and models of instruments than any other contemporary maker. However, the significance of the firm derives not only from the quality and variety of its products but especially from its progressive use of water-powered machinery and its readiness to incorporate technical improvements into production. The manufacturing practices of the Graves firm represent a decisive turn away from the older Yankee tradition of the small shop run by individuals, often as a sideline to a retail business or another trade, toward the "musical industries" of the later 19th century.
Engraved on the outside of the bell: "Made by / GRAVES & Co. / Boston". The instrument is made of brass and has three rotary valves. Overall length 36.3 cm; diameter of bell 12.7 cm. This cornet exhibits the system of rotary valves with string linkage patented by Thomas D. Paine of Rhode Island in 1848, one of the last of the many technical advances to be adopted by the Graves firm before its decline and presumed absorption by the Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory some time in the 1870's. The circular form of this cornet is a response to the 19th-century American liking for upturned bells on marching band instruments
Gift of Theodore Woolsey Heermance
Accession No. 3665.1953