If you were Friedrich Gumpert you would design a horn like this
Modell Gumpert Single Horn with Crooks

Label :
Friedrich Gumpert Single with crooks
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1875 - 1900
B♭, B♮,  C,  D♭, D,  E♭,  E,  F, G, A♭, AB♭,  B♮
(crooks shown in red; other keys derived with slides)
3 rotary with adjustable clockwork springs
11.40 mm
Bell Flare:
very large gusset, 180 deg. at edge, French bead
6.5 cm
Bell Diameter:
29.2 cm
Base Metal:
yellow brass
(click on photos for larger view)

The very ornately-embellished horn shown above is the design of Friedrich Gumpert1 (1841 - 1906), solo hornist of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and professor of horn at the Leipzig Conservatory. His students included Anton Horner (1877 - 1971), Max Hess (1878 - 1975), and Max Pottag (1876 - 1970).  The date of this  horn has not been firmly established, however it is probably one of several included in the Kruspe display in 1897 at the Saxon-Thuringian Industrial and Commercial Exhibition (Sächsische-Thüringishen Industrie und Gewerbe-Ausstellung) held in Leipzig during the Summer of 1897:
Further, on the cabinet: 3 Horns in gold brass and brass with various sets and tuners. The horns are manufactured in different sizes and represent the three introduced mainly in large orchestras systems The horn of gold brass is built with crook by recent experience. the other two are made with narrow and wide scales with inserted crooks.

According to Herbert Heyde the design replaced the earlier Saxon models by Johann Gottfried Kersten, Johann Gottlob Schmidt, and Hermann Ludwig Oertel which were insufficient for the Wagnerian orchestras of the day:
Around 1875 - 1880 Gumbert Model originated at the suggestion of Friedrich Adolph Gumbert, who was the first solo hornist with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, 1864 - 1899. The model was probably first produced by J. C. Penzel in Leipzig. While the hitherto common Saxon horns matched the music of Carl Maria von Weber and Robert Schumann in their tone, the new model was oriented to a large, pasty sound. It was built with crook and a total of seven tubular parts: crook, conical intermediate piece, tuning slide, cylindrical intermediate piece, valves, first branch [Anstoß lit. "impetus"], bell. As opposed to the older models the space requirement of the rotary valve section sits more appropriately over in the arc of the circle and is permanently mounted. The bell has a larger diameter by about 1 inch with a French bead.
Dr. Heyde documents in detail two other instruments of this design in the collection of the Karl Marx University, Leipzig, by Oskar Ulmann (successor to J.C. Penzel) from ca. 1910 (Nr. 3472) and 1925 (Nr. 3494).2 He also notes that a "Modell Gumbert" (which is presumably not the same as the Gumbert Kruspe compensating double horn) is still shown in the price list of Hans Rölz, Klingenthal / Graslitz as late as 1933 . Heyde describes the sound as pasty and blooming, voluminous, slightly sonorous ("pastos und blühend, grossvolumig, leicht sonor") and, compared to the older Saxon model, open, extrovert, loud and distinctive. 
On this horn and on most other examples of the Friedrich Gumpert model the legs to and from the main tuning slide are not crossed. This is a throwback to the early Inventionshorn  of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In addition the bell is quite small in comparison with other single horns of the late nineteenth century.   The contemporary illustration at the right from Gumpert's colleague, Oskar Franz in nearby Dresden, shows a similar horn.

For some other examples of the Friedrich Gumpert model valved horn with crook(s) see:  Cerveny, Kruspe, Kruspe, and Kruspe.

O. Franz, Grosse theoretisch-practische
The simple label (right) is characteristic of early horns by Eduard Kruspe. When his son, Fritz Kruspe,  took over the workshop in 1893 the labels began to be more artistically engraved.

The turned brace to the bell on this horn is not found on otherwise seen on instruments by Kruspe. Likewise the ornate engraving and pearl inlays on the valve section (below) are very unusual for Kruspe and suggests that this instrument was intended more for display, rather than performance. It is possible that it was a presentation piece for an important player of the period but it's provenance has not yet been fully documented. Except for a few small dents, it is in pristine condition and shows no patches or other evidence of day-to-day professional use. The adjustable clockwork valve springs are also a feature not commonly found on Kruspe horns.


Included with the horn is a variety of terminal crooks and tuning slides shown above tucked neatly into its very sturdy gig box.  Some of the keys represented might seem a bit odd but they are fully explained by John Ericson in his excellent article "Friedrich Gumpert (1841-1906) and the Performing Technique of the Valved Horn in Late-Nineteenth-Century Germany." Gumpert preferred the sound of crooks instead of transposition on the F horn and recommends the following in his Praktische Horn Schule: E♭, E, F, A♭, A, and B♭. The only one missing in the Kruspe set from Gumpert's list is E which, as shown below, is easily derived from F. The set also includes C from which B♭and H (B♮) can be derived by employing the longer tuning slides. Notably absent from both lists is the D crook.  Gumpert did not recommend the D crook in his Horn Schule and it is not included in the set for this horn. Instead he suggests that for some passages (e.g. Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin) the G crook is actually a better option than D. Perhaps the most peculiar of Gumpert's crook choices is the A♭ crook. In a footnote to the excerpt for the notoriously treacherous high, soft entrance in Beethoven's Symphony No. IV Gumpert suggestsin his Orchesterstudien employing the A♭ instead of the F or E♭crook :

The horn is provided with seven terminal crooks labeled as shown above. Four tuning slides of varying lengths (shown below)  plus one half-tone coupler (top, right)  are also included to set the performance concert pitch. There are also three tuning bits (middle, right) that can be placed between the mouthpiece and crook for fine tuning, although in practice they are probably unnecessary since the main tuning slides provide adequate range of pitch for most purposes. (The bit on the far right is apparently not original, since it is of slightly larger diameter and nickel-silver.) Three shorter auxiliary valve slides (bottom , right) are also included for use with the higher pitch crooks. Note that the first and third valve slides in both sets also have secondary slides the give additional tuning range. In the table below the frequencies shown are ± 2 hz measured with the iPhone app "insTuner" by EUMLab. Every effort was made to ensure consistent and accurate results, however intonation varies with atmospheric conditions (pressure, temperature, and humidity) as well as the player's ability to center the tone. In each measurement the right hand was not placed in the bell and the tuning slide was fully inserted to give the highest possible frequency result. In practice, of course, the frequencies would be somewhat lower with the player's hand in the bell and the tuning slide pulled to match the concert pitch of the moment. The note played is the fourth harmonic (written C4) for each crook, from which the corresponding concert tuning pitch (A4) is calculated. Concert pitch varied greatly from city to city in the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century when this horn was made. A tuning fork used by Friedrich Gumpert's Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra dated to 1869 was measured to be A = 448.2, however as the chart clearly shows, the crooks are noticeably inconsistent.3 For example, slide 1 is the closest to modern pitch (A = 440) be brought into tune with a moderate pull. The slide will have to be noticeably adjusted for a crook change, for example from E♭to F in Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony. The B crook is noticeably flatter than the others so B♭alto requires slide 4. Slides 2, 3, and 4 are probably intended for deriving other keys. For example slide 4 can be used to "raise" the C crook a half step to put the horn into D♭(modern pitch). The lowest keys such as B♮ (H) and B♭basso require both a longer slide and the coupler.

17.6 cm (8.8 x 2)

Tuning Bits
3.2 cm
5.5 cm
6.5 cm

High-Pitch Valve Slides

Tuning Slide:


32.0 cm

42.5 cm

61.5 cm

14.5 cm
264 hz (A≈444)
259 hz (A≈436) 253 hz (A≈426) 272 hz (A≈458)
Es4 321 hz (A≈454) 314 hz (A≈444) 303 hz (A≈429) 334 hz (A≈473)
F4 351 hz (A≈442) 342 hz (A≈431) 326 hz (A≈411) 372 hz (A≈469)
G4 402 hz (A≈452) 390 hz (A≈438) 372 hz (A≈418) 420 hz (A≈472)
As4 425 hz (A≈450) 412 hz (A≈437) 390 hz (A≈413) 445 hz (A≈472)
A4 448 hz  435 hz  411 hz  472 hz
B4 460 hz (A≈434) 452 hz (A≈427) 421 hz (A≈398) 494 hz (A≈466)


1. Norman Schweikert (Horn Call, 1971) argues persuasively that. although he was known as "Friedrich Gumbert" publicly and in his publications,  his family name was actually "Gumpert." For purposes of this page the name is not "corrected" in quoted texts.

2. Heyde generalizes the bell diameter of the Modell Gumpert to 310 mm based on measurements of the ca1910 and ca1925 Oskar Ullmann horns, some 30 to 50 years after the estimated date of the Gumpert horn. The bell diameter of the subject horn (292 mm) is more consistent with those of predecessor Saxon models, J.G. Schmidt  (285 - 286 mm), Kersten (290 mm), and Oertel (283 - 284mm) suggesting that it better represents the original design. The bell is considerably smaller than other Kruspe horns of the same period.

3. In 1880, Alexander Ellis reported: "Although the elevation of pitch took some time to accomplish in Dresden—where it, after all, remained tolerably low—it seems to have proceeded much further and faster in Leipzig, where the celebrated Gewandhaus concerts were held, and where, in 1859, I find A 448.8, and, in 1869, nearly the same, A 448.2. A fork, sent officially from the late Kapellmeister Rietz, from Dresden, to the Society of Arts, in 1869, as the Dresden pitch, A 449.4, seems to have been a Leipzig fork sent by mistake. In Berlin, it was some time before the sharpening influence was felt. In 1806-14, Wieprecht reports A 430.5 possibly an error in calculating an equally tempered A from C 512, instead of MA 428, which would belong to the mean pitch; but I have not been able to see the original statement. Fischer, in 1822, found A 437.3; in 1830, Berlin reached A 440; and, in 1834, according to Scheibler, A 441-6. After this, progress was rapid, and in 1858, A 450.8 ; in 1859, A 451.8 was reached." Heyde measures the range of concert pitch with the F crook on the two Oskar Ullmann horns in the Leipzig collection horns at 430 - 440 hz (Nr. 3472, ca.1910) and from low chamber pitch to 450 hz (Nr. 3494, ca.1925).  

Ellis, Alexander J., "On the History of Musical Pitch", presented to the thirteenth ordinary meeting of the Society of Arts, March 3, 1880, Journal of the Society of Arts, vol. xxviii, no. 1424, London, March 5, 1880.

Ericson, John, "Friedrich Gumpert (1841-1906) and the Performing Technique of the Valved Horn in Late-Nineteenth-Century Germany", Brass Scholarship in Review, Proceedings of the Historic Brass Society Conference, Cité de la Musique, Paris, 1999, Pendragon Press, Hillsdale, New York, 2006

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

Heyde, Herbert. Hörner und Zinken, Musikinstrumenten-Museum Leipzig Katalog Band 5. Leipzig: VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1982

Schweikert, Norman, "Gumpert, Not Gumbert!", The Horn Call, v. 1, n. 2, International Horn Society, Interlochen, Michigan, May, 1971

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

 "Die Musikinstrumente auf der Sächsische-Thüringishen Industrie und Gewerbe-Ausstellung in Leipzig 1897", Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau, v. 17, n. 33,  pp 846-847, August 21, 1897,
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