C.E. Doelling
Single Horn in E with Tap to E♭


1st Class
C.E. Doelling
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
after 1906
E, E♭
3 rotary, 1 tap

Bell Flare:
Bell Throat:

Bell Diameter:

Base Metal:
This horn was made in Philadelphia by Carl Ernst Doelling, an immigrant from Markneukirchen, Germany. (See biography, below). The bell is throat is quite large which is characteristic of horns from that region. Also typical of late ninteenth and early twentieth century Germanic horns is the placement of the main tuning slide on the front of the instrument. The slide itself is an unusually large diameter single turn hoop putting the horn in E. It is in the pattern of a Kölner model horns. The horn also has a built-in rotary tap to quickly change the key from E to E♭for stopping.

The valve section includes a feature to adjust the tension of the clockwork springs by turning the wheels beside each canister. This feature is also seen on an anonymous German horn in this collection. That same horn also includes a rotary tap to change its standing key suggesting that a common design philosophy. The same spring tensioning mechanism is found on horns by the very prolific firm of V.F. Cerveny & Söhne. Shown below is a drawing from a pamphlet by J.M. Bürger of Strasbourg (1877) showing the same spring adjustment capability. It is quite possible that the valve section and other components were imported from German suppliers, perhaps even from Ernst Dölling of Markneukirchen. Interestingly, on January 27, 1882 about a month after Carl Ernst Doelling arrived in the U.S. and began his apprenticeship with Ernst Seltmann (see below), the Steamship "Indiana" arrived at the Port of Philadelphia with 2 cases of musical goods for E. Seltman, perhaps including valve mechanisms. No origin of the cargo was indicated, however.

Carl Ernst Doelling (1864 - 1947) was born in February, 1864 in Markneukirchen, Germany. He was probably related to, if not the son of, Ernst Dölling, an important supplier of brass instrument components to the trade, who flourished in Markneukirchen from 1850 into the twentieth century. In 1913 the company was listed as one of the largest factories in Markneukirchen, supplying bells, valves, and tubing to to brass instrument makers in Germany and abroad including Kessels, E. Kruspe, A. Sprinz, and G.A. Wagner. They also supplied the Döllinglehre a gauge for measuring the diameter of tubing.
Carl Ernst Doelling emigrated to the United States alone at the age of seventeen, arriving at New York on December 14,1881 on the ship Switzerland. It appears that he went directly to Philadelphia to work in the shop of Ernst Theodor Seltmann (1828 1883). Seltmann was from Neukirchen, Saxony and had emigrated to the U.S., arriving with his wife, Theresa Elizabeth (née Maier, 1833 - 1906), at the port of Baltimore on June 29, 1857, but listing their destination as Philadelphia. Establishing himself as a brass instrument maker, he flourished there through the Civil War and thereafter until his death on June 27, 1883. In 1876 he exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.
Upon Seltmanns death, his widow, his son Theodore E. Seltmann, and young Doelling continued the business facing formidable competition from the likes of Henry Distin and J.W. Pepper. In 1886 Doelling married Seltmanns daughter, Kathrine Gertrude (1863 19??). They had two children but only daughter Hilda (1888 - 1976 , m. Paul Hoppe) survived to adulthood. After the death of his mother-in-law on January 19,1906, Doelling began producing instruments under his own name until about 1940. He died in Philadelphia on May 19, 1947 at the age of 83. Addresses for the firms of E. Seltmann and later C.E. Doelling were: 610 Callowhill St. (1861 - 1862); 811 Callowhill St. (1863 - 1888); 809 Callowhill St. (1891 - after 1920).

At right, upright E-flat bass horn from the late 1860s by E. Seltmann and its label. Note the string-operated top action rotary valves, typical of American brass instruments of the period.



Very special thanks to Jennifer Cox for providing the Doelling billhead shown on this page.

Eliason, Robert E., "American Brass of the 1800s"

Heyde, Herbert. Das Ventilblasinstrument, Seine Entwicklun im deutschsprachigen Raum von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1987. ISBN 3765102253

Waterhouse, William, The New Langwill Index of Wind Instrument Makers and Inventors, pub.Tony Bingham, London 1993

The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Four volumes. Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1986.

Baltimore Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

United States Federal Census, 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
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