If you were a member of the Molé Chamber Music Club  you might play a horn like this
Josef Wolf
Triangle Pattern Single

Label :
Josef Wolf Praha Prag
Serial Number:
Date of Manufacture:
ca. 1860
F or E♭ depending on terminal crook
3 Rotary (triangular pattern)
1.16 cm.
Bell Flare:
attached with ferrule. and with garland
6.5 cm.
Bell Diameter:
28.3 cm.
Base Metal:
Brass with nickel-silver trim
(click on photos for larger view)

The Wolf family of musical instrument makers flourished for over a century in Prague, Bohemia  (now Czech Republic) across three generations. August Wolf (1793 - 1874) was trained as a brass instrument maker in Graslitz. He established himself in Prague in 1821 and was  granted  trading rights there in 1828. There is a horn in Hudebni Oddeleni Narodniho Muzea, Praha, Czech Republic and a trumpet in Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Karl-Marx-Universitat, Leipzig, Germany. In 1867, his son, Josef became his  successor.

Josef Wolf, apprenticed with his father, August Wolf  establishing his own workshop in Prague in 1848.  Upon his father's retirement in 1867, Josef amalgamated both workshops into a single factory for all kinds of musical instruments, trading as "Wolf & Sohn". There is a clarinet in Stredni Prumyslova Skola Vroby Hudebnich Nastroju, Kraslice, Czech Republic. In 1899 his son, August Josef Wolf, became successor.

August Josef Wolf (19 August 1852 - 1924) apprenticed with his father, Josef Wolf. In 1898/99 he took over the family business making all kinds of musical instruments including string instruments and accordions. He was succeeded by his widow in 1924 who continued the business until 1929.

The arrangement of rotary valves in a triangular pattern was not uncommon among horn makers in Bohemia and the vicinity of Vienna as an alternative to the Vienese pumpen valves. This innovation was no doubt an attempt to reduce the "acoustic resistance" due to the sharp angles of tubing found in the valve clusters of the Vienna horn and in-line rotary valves. Other examples of triangular valve arrangement are known by Josef Müller, Prague; Leopold Uhlmann, Jr., Vienna; Josef Glassl, Graslitz; Jos. Fotter, Mladá Boleslav, Bohemia, Friedrich Gessner, and Anton Holý. The modern Czech firm, M.Jiracek a Synove, makes a similar Double Horn (Model Nr.101 "Supin") in F and B with four rotary valves arranged in a square. "This unique design allows the airstream to pass through the valves unidirectionally - with acoustic resistance reduced incredibly."

 The subject horn probably dates from sometime before August Josef Wolf became a partner with his father (1867) since it is not engraved as "Wolf and Sohn." It has several interesting features: The bell flare is a separate piece attached to the bell tail with a large ferrule (see the photos at the top of the page). The tail itself is somewhat longer than on most horns.  The crook socket (photo right) is marked with the letter "B" for no apparent reason. A first thought might be that the horn is intended to be crooked in  B (B in German notaion), however the valve slides are clearly too long for that key. (No crook was included with the horn and it is too severely damaged to even try to play.)

One of the valve caps is ornately decorated while the other two are quite plain (below). It is assumed that the decorated one is a replacement.

The valve slides and tubes are marked with arrows (bottom photo) showing the correct orientation of the slides as set at the factory.
The horn player shown at right was a member of the Molé Chamber Music Club in Boston. He is probably Franz Hain who succeeded Albert Hackebarth as the Club's horn player, and is holding a triangluar pattern single horn very similar to the subject horn by Josef Wolf.



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

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