C.F. Schmidt


The double horn in F and B-flat designed by C.F. Schmidt of Berlin and Weimar was very popular among professional players in the first half of the twentieth century and continues to be used in several major U.S. Orchestras. The player pictured above is believed to be Luigi (Louis) Ricci , who was a member of the New York Philharmonic from 1917 to 1962. He is playing a C.F. Schmidt double horn in F and B-flat which was imported to the United States and Canada exclusively by Carl Fischer, Inc. New York, NY. The photo is from a Carl Fischer instrument catalog. C.F. Schmidt introduced his double horn in 1900 with its peculiar piston thumb valve for the change from F to B-flat.1

Among the early proponents of this horn was Willem A. Valkenier, principal horn of the Boston Symphony from 1923 to 1953. Mr. Valkenier was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1887 and studied horn with Adolph Preus. In his biography of Mr. Valkenier, Milan Yancich states:
It was through Preus that he became connected with C.F. Schmidt, the Berlin horn maker. During his Berlin years, Valkenier became professionally and socially with Scmidt. Schmidt could play the horn, but he did not play professionally. He loved the horn. He was a man of who knew his metals. Valkenier said "He was a man of iron will and his first love was the horn." When I asked him whether the piston B-flat valve was his invention he thought that it was, but he was not sure. Once he asked Schmidt to change something in his model and Schmidt refused. He declared "My model is the best." 2
Yancich continues with an anecdote about the great Chicago horn maker, Carl Geyer:
Geyer told me that he believed the Schmidt horn to be the best designed horn ever made. This statement from a master horn maker, surprised me. He felt that the curve of the lead pipe through the B-flat valve was part of the reason for the Schmidt horn's success. He also believed the Schmidt bells to be superior to all other bells. In fact, every horn that Geyer built for me had a Schmidt bell. While we were on the subject of horns Mr. Valkenier told me that for many years he played either a Schmidt or Kruspe double horn; especially when he needed volume.3

Richard ("Dick") Mackey, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's fourth horn player from 1973 to 2005, is another proponent of the Schmidt double horn. Dick studied with Mr. Valkenier at the New England Conservatory and for a several years played in the Los Angeles studios with studio legend, Vincent DeRosa. When the audition for the Boston Symphony came up in 1972, "Vince advised Dick that his Conn 8D would not fit in the BSO section, and offered to sell Dick his mint-condition silver Schmidt. The Schmidt has a smaller sound than the Conn, but a sound that blends with the BSO section. Vince considered the horn 'a treasure that I loved, but it went to the right hands.'"4

The firm of C.F. Schmidt was established in Berlin ca. 1880. In that year it was issued German patent #12814 for "improvements to brass instruments." By 1888 a second workshop was opened in Weimar at Brennerstrasse 2c, and was later appointed Court maker to the Grand Duchy of Weimar. In 1899 this workshop merged with the main workshop in Berlin.5 Two different loations in Berlin are indicated by the engraved labels found on the bells of the horns. The earlier location (based on U.S. importer Carl Fischer's serial numbers) was in the south-western Berlin postal district served by Post Office number 19 (S.W. 19). This is described as the "old city post office I" (alte Stadtpost-Expedition I) located at Sparwaldsbrücke, Krausenstrasse, Beuthstrasse (probably near the intersection of the latter two) in the Kreuzberg section of the city. The second location was in the adjacent Schöneberg section in the western district served by "district post office" (Bestell-Postamt) W. 57 located on Bülowstrasse. Both labels indicate the previous location in Weimar. Clearly the Weimar shop was re-opened later probably following the First World War since many extant examples are engraved with Weimar as the place of manufacture with no reference to Berlin. (See table, below).



In a letter to Reginald Morley-Pegge dated August 18, 1970, Dr. Dieter Krickeberg of the Musikinstrumentenmuseum at the Staatlicches Institute für Musicforschung, Berlin writes the following chronology of the C.F. Schmidt locations: "Schmidt resided 1880 at Berlin, before 1888 at Badfriedrichroda, since 1888 at Weimar, 1912 at Berlin, 1926 at Weimar." This information is very helpful in establishing the timeline of the census of known C.F. Schmidt horns listed below.

As an aside, another firm by the name of C.F. Schmidt was located in Heilbronn am Neckar, Germany. The SIBMAS International Directory of Performing Arts Collections and Institutions gives the founding date of 1851 for C.F. Schmidt-Verlag. References to the Antiquarisches Verzeichniss ausgegeben von der J. D. Classischen Buchhandlung published by C. F. Schmidt in Heilbronn in 1858 and 1862 are found in Neuer Anzeiger für Bibliographie und Bibliothekwissenschaft by Dr. Julius Petzholdt. Heilbronn city archives indicate that C. F. Schmidt flourished as a music publisher (Musikalien) from 1870 to 1993. Indeed it was a very prolific publisher of sheet music at the same time the Weimer/Berlin brass instrument maker was producing the horns described here. C.F. Schmidt Verlag (Heilbronn) published music for all instruments including horn. Of particular interest to horn players it included editions of the Kopprasch etudes and the Hornschule of Josef Schantl. No relationship between the two firms has been established, however.

The Schmidt wrap was copied by several makers including Rampone-Cazzani, August Knopf, Richard Wunderlich, Carl Geyer, Lorenzo Sansone, Boston Musical Instruments, and the original C.G. Conn 6-D. One perhaps unique example of a model by Gebr. Alexander is also known. It is said that components for these, especially the valve assemblies, were often made by C.F. Schmidt and imported to the U.S. as parts to avoid import duties on completed instruments. More recently the design has been used in horns made by S.W. Lewis, Karl Hill (Kortesmaki), George McCracken, and Yamaha model 863.

For further information see also Carl Friedrich Schmidt (wikipedia Germany) courtesy of Marco Rippert.


Notes
1) Reginald Morely-Pegge,The French HornSecond Edition, (London: Ernest Benn Limited, New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 1973), 51 Mr. Morely-Pegge adds: "This model also had a measure of poplularity and was fairly widely used in the United States, but to some hands, including that of the writer, the piston proved awkward to manage."[back]
2) Milan Yancich, "Willem A. Valkenier-A Profile", The Horn Call XIV no. 1, (The International Horn Society, October 1983), 52[back]
3) Ibid.[back]
4) Marilyn Bone Kloss, "Richard Mackey Retires", The Horn Call XXXVI no. 2, (February 2006), 51[back]
5) William Waterhouse, The New Langwill Index, A Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors (London: Tony Bingham, 1993), 356-7[back]




A Census of Known Extant C.F. Schmidt Horns.
Additions and corrections are always welcome.
Bell Engraving S/N* Year** Description
<<>> Circa 1880 established at Berlin <<>>
<<>> Before 1888 moved from Berlin to Bad Friedrichroda <<>>
<<>>Circa 1888 workshop established at Weimar <<>>
C F Schmidt Weimar vor dem Berlin.     Label dated to 1888-1896 . Originally purchased in Germany and imported directly to Chicago.  
<<>>Circa 1899 Weimar workshop merged with Berlin<<>>
<<>>Before 1912 moved from Weimar to Berlin <<>>
C.F. Schmidt/Grossherzogl. Sächs: Hof-Instrumentenmacher/Berlin S.W. 19/früher/ Weimar    

Single B-Flat Horn with added extensions used by Reginald Morley-Pegge. Formerly in the Louis Denaro collection.

C.F. Schmidt/Grossherzogl. Sächs: Hof-Instrumentenmacher/Berlin S.W. 19/früher/ Weimar/Carl Fischer/New-York. Sole Agent Amerika/u. Canada   ca. 1911? Very unusual to have Fischer label with no S/N. Found in a band room in northern Minnesota; Restored in 1979 by Marvin McCoy who estimated date to be ca. 1911.
C.F. Schmidt/Grossherzogl/Sachs: Hof-Instrumentenmacher/Berlin, S.W. 19./früher/Weimar/12557/Carl Fischer/New York Sole Agent Amerika/u. Canada 12557   Single F/E-flat horn, lowest Fischer S/N found to date
C.F. Schmidt/Grossherzogl/Sachs: Hof-Instrumentenmacher/Berlin, S.W. 19./früher/Weimar/15719/Carl Fischer/New York Sole Agent Amerika/u. Canada 15719   Single F/E-flat horn listed on eBay 8/25/08, located in Marquette, MI
Grossherzdpl Sachs Hof-Instrumententermacher - Berlin S.W19 Weimar 16128 - Carl Fischer Sole Agent Amerika U. Canada 16128   Single B-flat horn
C. F. Schmidt Grossherzogel Sachs Hof Instrumentenmacher S. W. 19 Früher WEIMAR.       Engraved with the player's name engraved "Hermann Hand"
Horn-u-copia 
C.F.Schmidt, Berlin, S.W.19 Weimar    ca. 1906-1910?  Listed on eBay several times using hijacked accounts. Date estimated by seller. 
<<>> Moved from Berlin S.W. 19 to Berlin S.W. 57 <<>>
C F Schmidt / Grossherzogl / Sachs: Hof-Instrumenterfbkt. / BERLIN W. 57 / früher / WEIMAR / 21642 / Carl Fisher / New York / Sole Agent of Amerika a. Canada 21642 pre. W.W.I Collection of Louis Denaro
C F Schmidt / Grossherzogl / Sachs: Hof-Instrumenterfbkt. / BERLIN W. 57 / früher / WEIMAR / 13588 / Carl Fisher / New York / Sole Agent of Amerika a. Canada 13588   Single F horn listed on All Brass Instruments. This is very curious: The relatively low Carl Fischer serial number is apparently out of sequence given the wording of the label and address in Berlin W. 57
CF Schmidt/Grossherzogl. / Schs. Hof-Instrumentenfbkt. / BERLIN W.57 / früher / WEIMAR / Carl Fischer / New York / Sole Agent of Amerika a. Canada. / 22410  22410  pre W.W. I  Date estimated by owner. Private collection in U.K. 
C.F. Schmidt/Grossherzogl. / Sächs. Hof-Instrumentenfbkt. / BERLIN W.57 / früher / WEIMAR/29596/Carl Fischer / New York / Sole Agent of Amerika a. Canada. 29596    Listed on eBay 10/18/09; Bell and valves only, missing all tuning slides.
C.F. Schmidt/ W-57 Berlin/Frueher Weimar, 29640/ Carl Fischer/New York/Sole Agent for America & Canada 29640    Label dated to 1919. Bell cut and ring covering additional engraving. For sale in U.S. 
<<>>Circa 1926 moved from Berlin to Weimar <<>>
C.F. Schmidt/WEIMAR/früher/BERLIN     F and f descant double, with a very unusual lever linkage to the piston change valve.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/früher/BERLIN      Stamped on the bell with "4523"; mercury dimes soldered to valve levers; standing in B-flat; detachable bell is silver plated inside; numerous patches; some tubing has been replaced. Said to have been played in N.Y. Philharmonic for twenty years; possibly owned by Robert Schulze and pictured in 1938 New York Philharmonic horn section. Possibly brought to the U.S. by Mr. Shulze when he came to the U.S. in 1911 at the age of fourteen. 
C.F. Schmidt/WEIMAR/früher/BERLIN   1922 nickel-silver, with original F and Bb pistons and optional A/E tuning slide with tap; provenance confirmed to original purchase in Germany. Collection of Louis Denaro
C F Schmidt/& Co./WEIMAR/früher/BERLIN     Collection of Louis Denaro
C F Schmidt/& Co./WEIMAR/fruner [sic] /BERLIN 32958
The label on this horn is very ornately embellished with scroll-work, not seen on other C.F. Schmidt horns. In addition the serial number is unusually high for the wording of the label and there is no reference to Carl Fischer as agent as on all other horns with serial numbers. The word "früher" is misspelled. The most troubling engraving on the horn, however, is the notation "Spezial Fur  Prof. F. Gumbert." This is rather amateurishly written in cursive penmanship. The word "für" is incorrectly capitalized and is misspelled, missing the umlaut. Friedrich Adolph Gumpert (1841 - 1906) was a famous solo horn in the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig, and teacher of many fine horn players and was still living, although retired, when the C.F Schmidt double horn was invented in ca. 1900. Furthermore the label Weimar früher Berlin does not seem to fit the supposed location of the C.F. Schmidt in that period.  The horn was sold on eBay in 2012 and was previously owned by an amateur player who purchased it from Giardinelli in New York in the 1960s. Prior provenance is unknown.
C F Schmidt/& Co./WEIMAR/     Purchased by Warren Dowdy in the mid 1990s from a band director in Brownsville, Texas, now owned by his widow, Mrs. Hazel Dowdy.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of USA and Canada  31197  ca. 1923  Silvered detachable bell. Replacement leadpipe, main tuning slide, evidence of other work. Private Collection in U.S. 
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of USA and Canada  31384    Purchased used about 1961 from a player in a San Diego professional marching and concert band who was retiring.
C. F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of USA and Canada/32112 32112    Currently in Cleveland, OH; Purchased ca. 2001 from a public school teacher who purchased it in New York in the 1950s. Generally good playing condition, great sound, solid high register.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Germany/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/32652  32652    This horn was originally owned by Jerry (Jaroslav) Knopp, formerly with the Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Civic Opera, and a member of the All American Youth Orchestra that Leopold Stokowski took to South America in 1940. It was sold in 1960 to the present owner, Mr. Bruce Kovacs  
C.F. Schmidt/Germany Weimar Germany/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/32665 32665 ca. 1929 This is one of those lucky finds that players and collectors only dream about. It was found in an antique shop in Maine on June 16, 2012, and purchased for $175. The horn is in excellent condition, plays very well, and came complete with original case, F and E-flat tuning slides, and E/A crook with quick change tap. The label is unusually engraved with "Germany" written twice.
The Tariff Act of 1930 (P.L. 71-361) was an act, sponsored by United States Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley, and signed into law on June 17, 1930 imposing tariffs on goods imported into the United States. Among its provisions is the requirement that imported goods must be conspicuously and indelibly marked in English to indicate to the ultimate purchaser the country of origin. So, it seems reasonable to presume that C.F. Schmidt horns marked "Made in Germany" were imported for sale in the U.S. in or after 1930.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of USA and Canada /Made in Germany 33561 ?    Nickel (or probably silver) plated over brass; listed on eBay 7/20/08 for $3800 in Tuscaloosa, AL, but no bids. Estimated by seller to date from ca. 1914
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar  3455? ca. 1927?  For sale in the U.S. Date estimated by seller. 
C F Schmidt / Weimar Germany / Carl Fisher New York / Sole Agent of USA and Canada / Made in Germany/35611 35611 1930  Collection of Louis Denaro
C. F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/Made in Germany/36590/  36590    Single F horn, bell has been transferred to another horn of various maker's components
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany, 36789 36789 ca. 1932? Offered on eBay on 10/6/09, in Pittsburgh, PA. Date estimated by seller. Additional S/N 1371 on piston casing.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer Inc. New York/Sole Agent of USA and Canada/Made in Germany/37022 37022    
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany, 37835  37835     
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany, 37994  37994    Listed on eBay on October, 24 2009 
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany  38290    Purchased in 1969 from John Lounsbery of the Milwaukee Symphony, for $400. Used as primary horn until 2008. Estimated by John Barrows to date from 1920, however S/N would indicate later. Overhauled in 1973 by Jerry Lechniuk (Chicago) and bell silver plated by Anderson Silverplating (Elkhart).
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany  38783  ca. 1934  Son of original owner stated that this horn was used by his father in his high school band from 1934 through 1938. Believed to have been purchased new. Private collection in U.S. 
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer Inc. New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/Made in Germany/39048/   39048    Owned by James Tankersley of the Houston Symphony during the 1950's-1960's. Listed on eBay April 28, 2011,  now owned by Richard Burdick, 1st Horn of Regina Symphony
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer Inc. New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/Made in Germany/39079/   39079    Purchased in 1988 for a student in Costa Rica, and as of January 2011, this horn was still located in Costa Rica.
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar/Carl Fischer Inc. New York/Sole Agent of U.S.A. and Canada/Made in Germany/39593/   39593    Said to have been once owned by Luigi Ricci
C.F. Schmidt, Weimar, Carl Fischer New York, Sole agent of USA and Canada, Made in Germany 39732?  39732?  ca. 1930?  Sold in Japan. Date estimated by seller. 
C.F. Schmidt/Weimar     For sale in U.S. 
C.F. Schmidt/& Co./WEIMAR/Cont. Music Co. New York/Agent of USA and Canada/Made in Cermany[sic]/41059  41059   Continental Music Co. was a subsidiary of C.G. Conn. Ca. 1930, Conn purchased much of the musical instrument stock of Carl Fischer. Bell exhibits unusually ornate engraving. Several modifications. Offered for sale in St. Louis, 3/31/10 
       
* Serial numbers were added by Carl Fischer. In response to an inquiry about archives a spokesperson for Carl Fischer, Inc. has replied: "Our instrument division closed decades ago and we no longer have records."

**Dates are estimates or guesses usually made by recent owners and should not be taken to be accurate. In some cases where early provenance is known dates given may be more certain. Horns are listed by wording of the C.F. Schmidt label which are believed to be in chronological order.


Now, let's all play
Spot That Schmidt!

1938 New York Philharmonic Horn Section
Identified as (left to right)Robert Schulze, Santiago Richart, Luigi Ricci, Bruno Jaenicke, Adolf Schulze

John Barrows

Eric Hauser

A High School Horn Section
(Hint: who's the smartest looking kid and NO!, Dick Martz is not in this photo.)

College or Military Academy Section
(Hint: It's the only double horn in the photo and he's probably the principal.)





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