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I post pictures of my MILLEREAU Eb alto saxophone which was manufactured between 1872 and 1878 by Francois Millereau, a French instrument maker whose company existed from 1861 to 1931 and was finally bought by Selmer. It bears the famous "do-mi-sol" engraving with treble clef and is in restored state of play.
It was at some point in its life laquered and engraved, possibly in the 1950s or 1960s. This insturment resembles in detail alto saxophones built by Adolphe Sax in the same time (PATENT from 1866) with the small bell. I attach one photo of an Adolphe Sax Alto for a quick comparison.

The saxophone plays beautifully and has a strong pure voice with very good intonation with the wooden large chamber mouthpiece as pictured. The mechanic features the one improvement over Adolphe Sax design, a coupling in the right hand to enable F#trills and overall is easy to handle. I have played Adolphe Sax sacophones from the same period and find no remarkable difference, wonderful instruments!

As the common knowledge seems to be that BUFFET were the first manufacturers of Saxophones I would like to correct this a bit as Millereau seemed to have started with his production line earlier and certainly with an excellent outcome and recognition, forgotten today though.

François Millereau was born in Grosbois en Montagne (Côte d'Or) on 31.3.1831 and died on 10th January 1892 in Paris, two years before Adolphe Sax. Alongside Buffet Crampon, Gautrot and Couesnon, he is one of the most important French saxophone manufacturers in the late The first patent for an improvement of the saxophone after Adolphe Sax 1866 was given in 1866. Presumably he made saxophones before the company Buffet Crampon.

After training and working in Gustave Auguste Besson's studio, he opened his own shop and manufactory from 1861 for brass instruments. A few years later he developed saxophones that were until 1866 under patent protection of Adolphe Sax. On February 15, 1867 Adolphe sued Sax Millerau unsuccessfully for the production of saxophone mouthpieces and saxophone leaves. (Source: Bulletin des arrêts de la Cour de cassation rendus en matière criminelle, Source Gallica, N ° 200). A little later, Millerau begins to produce saxophones based on Adolphe Sax which exhibit slight mechanical improvements over Sax instruments "Systems Millereau". In 1866 he patented a fork handle for the F # and now presented all his instruments in public at exhibitions. This is the first patent for a saxophone after Adolphe Sax.

On 7 August 1866, only a few months after the expiry of the original patent, Millereau and Company submitted a patent for an instrument to be called a saxophone Millereau. Unsurprisingly, Millereau's instrument was similar to Sax's design, except that the two octave keys were mounted on a single post rather than each having its on fixing, although they remained independent rather than interchanging automatically as modern systems do. Another modification, the low C1 and eb1 kegs on a single rod, allows the provision of alternative low C3 key below these. In the same sketch miller added a key between the and the finger touches. This key does not appear in the other sketches and its possible function is not explained in the patent. (Stephen Cottrell, The Saxophone, pages 68-69).

In addition to Adolphe Sax, Millereau is also the only manufacturer of a C-Bass saxophone (Bruno Kampmann Collection, c. 1880): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sATbPcALM-E.
"Millereau presents a small change in the distribution of the keys on the saxophone, all of which are closed and opened on top of the instrument." In addition to the saxophone family, the exhibition also features well-known silver and copper brass instruments, all of which are very well made Mr. Millereau won a silver medal. " Source: M. de Pontecoulant, "Music at the World's Fair of 1867", Paris, 1868. (Gallica)

François Millereau received in the following years further awards for his craftsmanship:

- Gold Medal, Academy of Arts and Manufactures.
- Gold Medal, European Institute of Music and Fine Arts (Florence).
- Medal, exhibition of Dijon.
Special remark: "The alto and soprano saxophones have an exceptionally good sound quality and are perfectly accurately intoned"
Source: Théâtre-journal. Musique, littérature, beaux-arts-13.12.1868. (Gallica)


Important company data and addresses:

1855-Bercy, département de la Seine
1856-Paris, rue des trois Bornes n°29.
1862-Millereau et Cie, passage Chausson, 6, près la caserne du Prince- Eugène.
1864-passage Chausson, 6, près la caserne du Prince-Eugène.
1867-Exposition universelle de Paris 1867 source Irpmf.cnrs- M.A.- Millereau & Cie Passage Chausson, 6 Paris- Cornets à pistons, bugles, altos.
1872-Exposition universelle de Lyon 1872 source Irpmf.cnrs- Millereau Rue des Trois-Bornes,
23 Paris- Instruments de musique à vent, bois et cuivre- Méd. Bro..
1874-rue des trois Bornes 29.
1875-rue des trois Bornes 29.
1876-Millereau et Cie, 29, r. des Trois- Bornes.
Anne Marie Mélanie Millereau heiratet Édouard Arthur Salabert, représentant de commerce aus London 1875.
1878-Exposition universelle de Paris source Irpmf.cnrs- Millereau F., r. des Trois- Bornes 29.
Instruments à vent en bois, en cuivre, en vulcanite-r. m. A..
Circa 1878-Sous les lilas : grande valse pour piano : op. 2 / par Casquil- Millereau, 66 rue d'Angoulême...source Gallica partitions.
1881-rue d'Angoulême,66.
1885-Exposition universelle d’Anvers 1885 source Irpmf.cnrs-Millereau François Rue d' Angoulème, 66, Paris- Instruments à vent en bois et en cuivre- M. Or.
1885-rue d'Angoulême, n°66
1889-Exposition universelle de Paris source Irpmf.cnrs-M.O.- Millereau François Rue d'Angoulème, 66 Paris Flûtes, clarinettes, hautbois, saxophones, cors d'harmonie, cornets, basses, trombones, …
1891-rue d'Angoulême, n°66.
1892-cité d'Angoulême 10 (domicile).
1893-rue d'Angoulême, n°66.
1894-Exposition universelle d’Anvers 1894 source Irpmf.cnrs-M.A.- Millereau Rue d'Angoulème, 66 Paris- Instruments de musique.
1895-rue d'Angoulême, n°66.
1895-Le 1 avril 1895-Vendeur- Dame Millereau- Acheteur- Schoenaers au fonds-Facteur Instruments, 66, Angoulême.
1897-Exposition internationale de Bruxelles 1897 source Irpmf.cnrs-M.O.- Schoenaers H.
(anc. Millereau), rue d'Angoulème, 66 Paris Instruments de musique, éditions .
1900-Exposition universelle de Paris 1900 source Irpmf.cnrs- H.C.- Schoenaers H.
Millereau (anc. Millereau), rue d'Angoulème, 66 Paris Instruments à vents en cuivre à
pistons et à clefs, instruments à vents en bois, instruments à percussion, batteries, accessoires d'instruments en cuivre et en bois.
1910-rue d'Angoulême, n°66.
1913-Schoenaers (H.). 15, r. Gambey, Paris, 11è.
1925-Schoenaers (H.). 15, r. Gambey, Paris, 11è.
1930-15, r. Gambey, Paris.
1931 the company was like Adolphe Sax (son) bought up by Selmer.
 

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Wow, cool horn. Never even heard of Millereau. Thanks for the history lesson, Uwe!
 

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Thank you! Do you happen to have copies of the millereau patents? If not I can probably dig them up.

I see that one of them was 186154 (1887), and another was 155392 (1883). An earlier filing was 72530 (1866).

Sax's basic sax patent, BTW, was 3226 (1846).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all your replies!

I have only two pictures for now (from Cottrell) - 1866 and 1887.

My instrument still doesn´t have the single posts as proposed 1866 implemented though...
only the linkage to allow the F3 trill (it´s not a trill key - but Sax could have "borrowed" vice versa from the idea!
I will post a video comparison later in comparing an early later Adolphe Sax (wide bell) and later sax with this one,
but that will take some time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
right hand thumb trill key

-> here is an example of that 1887 patent 1887 manifesting as right hand thumb trill keys
applied firstly by Evette & Schaeffer System horns, later by Couesnon and here on the photos
on a 1930s Adler Triumph model from Germany (pictures by BASSICSAX).
 

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It appears that Millereau may have introduced the longitudinal (up & down) oriented strap ring, which was an improvement over the transverse (side to side) strap ring present on the first saxophones made by Adolphe Sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys!! I think these very old instruments carry a special sound with them (and invite to certain ways of playing) - as they are super thin walled for example and carry truly not many keys. The later "transitional" saxophones from 1900-1920 (Selmer 22 etc.) I find lack a lightness - and then with the more modern horns, its lost completely - but different and great as well.- If you get used to the double mechanic, these horns are fun. I have found an original early Adolphe Sax alto which I practice on now and will use it in concerts as well where suitable.
 
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