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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I am writing this post on behalf of one local tech, who is not keen on internet and computers. He has acquired an old/antique baritone saxophone made by Gautrot, one of the contemporaries of Adolf Sax.
He is looking for an identification or more information about the instrument if someone happens to know these.
He is also considering selling it, so it will be great if you can give an idea of how much is it worth.

The inscription on the bell says Gautrot Marquet, breveté s.g.d.g. à Paris.
It is nickel plated, with low B and up to D sharp. It appears to be made in the second half of the 19th century, as the company was renamed after that.

It has been restored and overhauled with pads without resos to a perfect playable condition. He said he tuned it to 442hz and it held well.
I am attaching some photos (not the greatest quality) and a clip with a colleague of his playtesting the instrument.

Any help will be much appreciated!

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Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
41,651 Posts
How interesting, especially the mechanics of the Low B which has to be one of the the most primitive arrangements that I have ever seen with a charm of its own.

Your best chance to get any information on the comany which made this is through this blog.

this is their email [email protected]

A search through their search engine reveals that Gautrot is mentioned is several instances. I couldn't find specific information on your saxophone.

We have spoken of Gautrots before.

Here an extract of the conference pronounced in March 1999 with the museum from La Villette in Paris :
(picts and original at)

Couesnon were the followers of the Gautrot company their name was cancelled from the company name in 1888 on that base we can conclude that the pitch cannot be A=442 but, if at all more likely to be A=435

Pierre Louis Gautrot (Mirecourt 1882) became proprietor of GUICHARD in 1845.
He had been already working for Guichard as his associate beginning in 1835.
Gautrot was involved in the 1845 litigation against Adolphe Sax.
By 1846, the company of over 200 employees claimed to be the most important manufacturer of musical instruments in Europe.
In 1847, the firm employed 208 workers (over 40% of the brass instrument workforce in Paris).
In the same year the company patented improvements to the horn, trumpet, and brass valves.
He was the first European manufacturer to use mass production techniques for instruments
Gautrot took advantage of the industrial revolution and added steam power to his plant in 1849.
By 1850, he had depots in London and by 1856 also in Madrid, Naples, and New York.
In 1855, Gautrot had a plant in Château-Thierry as well, employed over 300 workers in Paris, and was producing 20,000 band and stringed instruments annually.
The company had a band consisting of thirty-six workers in 1857 (many companies had such bands in the 19th) by then had a workshop producing string instruments in Mirecourt and one producing woodwind instruments in La Couture Boussey.
Producing extremely desirable instruments, the company exported 70% of its instruments in 1860.
In 1862, Gautrot was employing 700 workers and by 1867, four plants were producing approximately 47,000 musical instruments a year (24,000 of them valved brass instruments)!
In 1864, the company patented the "système equitonique" (compensating valve system) in France and a year later in England.
It used valves with dual windways to act as a compensating system for intonation.
After litigation involving Adolphe Sax from 1856 to 1859 for alleged violation of Sax's patents, Gautrot was ordered to pay 500,000 francs in damages, and also ordered to mark his instruments with Sax' name.
Gautrot ignored the order and Sax appealed his case in the courts until 1867.
The final outcome was not specified.
In 1870, the company employed over 600 workers in Paris and Château-Thierry.
In 1881, Gautrot bought Triebert .
In 1882, Amédée August COUESNON became the director of the firm and owner in 1883.
Among the many expositions at which Gautrot was represented were the Paris Expositions in 1844, 1845, 1849, 1855, 1863, 1867, 1878, Toulouse in 1845, and London in 1851, 1855, 1862, and 1882.
Early in the 19th century, great changes in the method of manufacturing musical instruments took place in France.
Several concepts of the Industrial Revolution (which had its roots in England) were incorporated into the manufacturing process.
One major change took brass instrument manufacture out of the atelier into the factory, thus allowing for mass production and lower prices.
Gautrot was one of the principals using this new-found technique.

Guichard - as predecessor.
Auguste G.Guichard founded a musical instrument manufacturing company bearing his name in 1827.
He also established a factory at Château-Thierry (Aisne), thus moving from a "cottage" to a "factory" industry devoted to the manufacture of brass musical instruments.
Pierre-Louis Gautrot joined the firm in 1835.
In 1845, the name of the company was changed from Guichard to Gautrot indicating at least a change in management.
At the time of change of name, the two artisans were brothers-in-law.

Gautrot - as maker-inventor.
The company names of Gautrot were altered several times during his 39 years as an entrepeneur-maker-inventor allowing for various degrees of influence.
Evidently he could work alone or in "tandem."
One early invention (1847) by Gautrot involved what was called an "omnitonic" horn which added 12 crooks and quickchange valves to the natural horn.
This idea was consolidated into a 3-valve "omnitonic" (1854), and further developed into what may be called a predecessor of the modern double horn (1858).
In 1855, the company added woodwind and string instruments to its line of products.
The sarrusophone dates from 1856 when it was patented as a double-reed instrument, though it existed earlier.
A mouthpiece with a single beating reed for this instrument was patented by Sax in 1866!
Gautrot absorbed or became allied with several other musical instrument makers as time passed.
He added Tulou flutes in 1857.
Jean-Louis Tulou (1786-1865) was not only a flute-maker, but served as a professor of flute at the Conservatoire in Paris (1829-1856) and was in all probability the last well-known flutist to be against the Boehm flute.
The company name became Gautrot aine et cie. in 1870.
Though I cannot pinpoint when "et cie. " was not part of the company name, several references do exist.
Also, Gautrot Marquet (ca. 1863) and Gautrot, durand et cie. (ca. 1878) were two affiliations noted in passing.
During the existence of Gautrot aîne et a cie (1870-1883), one purchase was made which amazed me.
Frédéric Triébert Fils (1813-1878) died and left his company, including a factory in Paris, to Mme. C. Dehais who immediately sold it to Felix Paris who later sold it to Gautrot (1881).
This is the Triébert company where François Lorée worked / supervised before starting his own (extant) company.
In 1883, Gautrot added the name of Couesnon to his company name, making it Couesnon, Gautrot et cie.
Amédée Couesnon was Gautrot's son-in law at the time.
Couesnon had an extremely long life, being born in 1850, and dying in 1951.

Couesnon - as successor.
The name of Gautrot was deleted from the company name in 1888, thereby ending the influence of Gautrot.
The changes in Couesnon et cie. until its demise well into the, twentieth century (1967) are beyond the scope of this study.
Adolphe Sax, born Antoine-Joseph, produced the first saxophone in about 1843: a C bass in the shape of an ophicleide.
These "prototype" saxophones made in this curved style are vanishingly rare (there may be only four left, worldwide).
The soprano, alto and tenor were traditionally shaped and were produced slightly later.
The bari and bass didn't change to their "normal" shape until around 1846 -- the original patent date for Sax's horns and when saxophones started to be mass produced.
In 1866, Sax's patent expired (renewed in 1881) and there was a kind of "free-for-all" in the saxophone world.
The first real "challenge" to the saxophone, the sarrusophone appeared around this time.
The inventor of which, Gautrot, was sued many times by Antoine-Joseph because of the similarities (especially in fingering) between the two instruments.
Sax lost some of these legal battles and won others.
Antoine-Joseph died in 1894 and his son, Adolphe-Edward, took over the company (although some evidence suggests he took over in 1885).
He produced a few horns and then sold the company to Selmer around 1928.
Selmer produced horns with the Adolphe Sax label and style until (probably) 1935 and are known as very good playing horns, having similar playing characteristics to the Super models.
Antoine-Joseph's horns are beautiful works of art that cry out to be played, but they are extremely limited: the keyed range is only up to high Eb, there is no Bb bis key, there is no fork F#, there may not be a side C, the G# is not articulated and there aren't rollers on the RH C and Eb or the LH G#, C#, B cluster keys.
The baritone and bass also had interestingly placed vents for the low B key placed so you could easily knock your right hand into it when playing.

Finally, just to make things more interesting, Antoine-Joseph's horns featured up to four octave keys (though most had two), no Bb and even some of Adolphe-Edwards horns only go down to low B.
I can say that even though these horns have limitations in keywork, they sound wonderful: clean, tight and airy reflecting the horn's roots in Antoine-Joseph's bass clarinet experiments.
It's a sound that went away completely after about 1940 and the original Buescher Aristocrats.
There are a couple of interesting things about the Sax horn that I've found:
- There were altos produced in F
- There may have been straight altos and low A altos
- Gold plated horns were generally produced for "trade shows" (Paris Expositions)
- Feb. 1, 1859 marks the date that pitch was standardized at A=435hz in France
- Horns produced before this were essentially "custom made" to match the pitch that your ensemble used!

10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot Milandro!
It seems then that the baritone could be placed somewhere between 1863 and 1888.
I will write an email, hopefully they read English.

Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
41,651 Posts
their secretary has been writing here and should be a member on SOTW (maybe I can still find the post).

It takes a very long time before they answer and , yes, they do write in English but their postbox may be full of spam since they have their address in clear.

This is probably the most important source of information for you.

However, in all realism, they can tell you the things that we know above from the company but they may not be able to tell you much more.

The archives are probably gone and you will only be able to have an approximate date , and for all the rest the saxophone is what it is.

It certainly Doesn’t belong to their highest level production.

This company has produced horns with an extension of 4 octaves which at that time qualified as the MOST extended keywork in the business
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