S752 A. Collard & Co.
Collard, A. & Co.London, England
Stamp: (crown)/(script)COLLARD'S PATENT/(straight type, curved)A. COLLARD & Co./(reverse curve)LONDON/(straight type)No. 88
Comments: This is a very elegant package, for which no expense was spared. I would not be at all surprised if this was quite close to the flute Collard displayed at the London exhibition of 1885.
Material: Made of Ebonite with silver keys and trim, short silver tuning sleeve in head, which is otherwise unlined.
System: This is Collard's Patent, although which of his many patents is illustrated here future scholars will have to determine. A. Collard is actually Mr. Collard Augustus Drake, who registered patents on flute keywork in 1878, 1880, 1880 (again), 1885, 1889 and for a piccolo also 1889. I do not have these patents in front of me, but I suspect they are all here on this flute. As a budding lexicologist of clutchology I am overwhelmed by this masterpiece. The basic system resembles Carte's 1867 system, having an open D, open G# and first finger F# (among other similarities). Beyond Carte, this flute endeavors to make key combinations easily available through a series of overlapping spades. Furthermore, to give an extra boost to the low end every note from E down has double holes, again with overlapping spade clutches (very tightly sprung).
Condition: In very good condition. Probably last overhauled by Paul Howarth in Yorkshire around 1980. The ebonite has aged gracefully, to the usual pea soup green.
Pitch: Pitched c. a=454.
Sounding Length: Sounding Length (mm): 580.
Case: In original case with name and address stamped in gold: "A. COLLARD & CO. 211 OXFORD STREET W.
Photographs (click to enlarge):
The unlined, "thinned" ebonite head with barrel shape left for embouchure wall, and the silver mechanism featuring the wonderful and unique "rabbit-ears" clutch.
The "rabbit ears", the open G# (independent of the lever above), and the precisely carved tone hole and silver work.
The bottom four tone holes are all doubled, with overlapping, contrary-motion spade clutches. This gives the fingers of the right hand such a workout it should be called a "California footjoint".
Here we peek under the D# key, to see the doubled hole slipping a clutch up against the underparts of the D# touch.
The B and Bb thumb keys. Like the rest of the mechanism, this is loosely based on Carte's 1867 system.
My lexicon of clutchology leaves me speechless when confronted with such creativity in this "back clutch" area.