If ____ you would play a horn like this
C. Mahillon
Model 412 Single Horn

Label (Bell):
[six-pointed star]
[applied medallion with arms of Belgium]
Model 412 single
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1900 - 1925
A, A-Flat, G, F or E-flat depending on terminal crook
3 Périnet

Mouthpiece Receiver:

Crook Socket:

Bell Flare:

Bell Throat:

Bell Diameter:

Base Metal:
silver plated

The simple label on underside of the bell of the horn includes the smaller seal (below right) of the arms of Belgium according to the Royal Decree of March 17, 1837 one year after the founding of C. Mahillon. This was probably required as a supplier of instruments to the army.

The firm of C. Mahillon was founded in Brussels in 1836 by Charles Borroméee Mahillon (1813 - 1887), who after serving apprenticeship in England returned to Brussels to become a partner with his brother-in-law, C.G. Bachman as Bachman & Mahillon. In 1844 they opened a branch in London and by 1847 were exhibiting both brass and woodwind instruments. By 1856 C. Mahillon became the most important wind instrument manufacturer in Belgium and was suppplier to the army, and also maker of percussion instruments. Around 1865 eldest son, Victor Charles Mahillon (1841 - 1924) was taken into the firm as a partner. The firm continued in operation by the family for a century until 1935. Two years later the firm was taken over by Jean Adrien Smits doing business under the name "Mahillon & Co. succ. J. Smits."

The valve section comprises three rather short Périnet valves.  The terminal crook is marked for E-flat but plays in modern E (A=440).  The accompanying mouthpiece is marked "5" has a medium-wide rim (4.2 mm), deep cup (32mm), and very small throat (4.0 mm). The bell brace plate (shown below) is doubled and not particularly well finished. Overall the workmanship is competent but there are numerous remaining file and tool marks.

Other models of the C. Mahillon single horn include the 499  and the 325 "Mahy" model described (but not pictured) in the 1926 catalog (see illustrations below). After the company was taken over by Jean Adrien Smits in 1937 the original company name was retained but with Smits' name added. On one example single horn the bell is engraved as follows:

    C. Mahillon, Succ. J. Smits, Brevete, Fournisseur de L'Armee et Des Conservatoires Bruxelles [cartouche with Arms of Belgium and "L'Union fait la Force"], Modele adopte M. G. LeBrun.

Model 412, 1926 Catalog p. 8
Larigot, No 26, p. 16

Victor Charles Mahillon
(1841 - 1924) was born in Brussels on March 10, 1841. He is of outstanding importance as a writer on acoustics and musical instruments, and was the honorary and zealous custodian of the museum of the Brussels Conservatoire. After studying music under some of the best professors there, he applied himself to the practical study of wind-instrument manufacture and was taken into his father's business in 1865. He started a musical journal L'Echo musical, in 1869 and continued it until 1886, when his time became too much occupied to attend to its direction. In 1876 he became the honorary curator of the museum of the Conservatoire, which, begun with Fétis's collection of 78 instruments, was, through his special knowledge and untiring energy, increased (1888) to upwards of 1500. An important contribution to it, of Indian instruments, was a division of the fine collection of the Rajah Sir Sourindro Mohun Tagore between the Brussels Conservatoire and the R.C.M in London.

Victor Charles Mahillon
Victor Mahillon published two very important works, besides three synoptical tables of harmony, voices, and instruments. The first is 'Les Éléments d'acoustique musicale et instrumentale', an octavo volume published in 1874, which gained for him in Paris in 1878 he distinction of a silver medal. The other is the catalogue of the Conservatoire, which appeared in volumes annually from 1877 and is of the highest interest. As well as these noteworthy works he contributed to the ninth editon of the Encyclopedia Britannica several historical and technical articles of great value on wind instruments, both wood and brass. As soon as Mahillon could introduce a workshop into the Conservatoire he did so, and he had reproductions made of many rare instruments which, through their antiquity or the neglect of former owners, had too much deteriorated for purposes of study. Among these reproductions the Roman Lituus and Buccina in the Music Loan Collection at Kensington, in 1885 were prominent objects of interest in the fine selection contributed under Mahillon's auspices by the Brussels Conservatoire. He reproduced from authentic sources the complete families of wind instruments that were in use in the 16th and 12th centuries. Victor Mahillon's services to the Inventions Exhibitions of 1885, in the above-named contribution of instruments to the Loan Collection, and the historical concerts under his direction performed by professors and students of the Brussels Conservatoire, at which several rare instruments were actually played upon in contemporary compositions, were so highly appreciated by the Executive Council of that Exhibition that a gold medal was awarded to him. [Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Fifth Edition, Volume 5 (1954), p.511]

Larigot, No 26, pp. 19, 23


Billet, Jeroen. "200 Years of Belgian Hornschool".

Blom Eric, ed. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Fifth Edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., 1954

Cools, Jacques. Essai de Classification Alphabetique Des Facteurs, Ouvriers, Inventeurs, Marchands... Belges D'Instruments de Musique à Vent Larigot No VIII Spécial. Paris: l'Association des Collectionneurs d'Instruments à Vent, 1997

Mahillon, Victor Charles. É'léments D'Acoustique Musicale & Instrumentale. Bruxelles: C. Mahillon, 1874

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