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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a Pan American alto off of eBay to restore. and I am looking for any Information I can find on this sax
The serial#is P4971 and the bell keys are on opposite sides. I will post some Pictures .
Thanks for the help.
Mark
 

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but the Pan american (the prefix P is a giveaway) had a different SN chart......... it is old anyway! My guess is somewhere in the '30
 

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I don't believe I have ever seen a Pan American serial number chart. The "P" prefix on the number IS a dead give away that the horn is a Pan Am stencil.

I read somewhere here on SOTW that if you add a certain number (constant) to the Pan Am serial number, it will get you into the correct year (kind of) on the "normal" Conn serial number chart. I don't want to give a number and then be wrong (and then STONED by the angry mob of people I mislead and disappointed), But I believe it was a number in the "umpteen thousands" that was used.....

Maybe someone has heard this urban legend?
 

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I think this might be an urban legend, there is no certainty about the SN chart (if you sniff around the www you find sure indications that.......nobody knows, for sure!) ;) :)
 

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Just throw everything in the salad... I just got a tenor. Called a Pan American, sold by CG Conn, keyed by Indiana Band Instrument Co, body by Martin. Early to mid 50s, LH bell keys. It's identical to The Indiana by Martin, of the same vintage, except for a slightly different bell key guard. I'm sure some will say the body of my Pan Am tenor is made by Indiana, not Martin. But I insist it is because I want to believe what I want to believe. Also, the body has the subtle details of The Martin Tenor I used to own and love. This has absolutely nothing to do with your new (Conn) Pan Am. Might be a useful clue to others though.
 

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Indiana was a stencil (student model) for the Martin Saxophone company. Everyone had a stencil in their model lineup. Buescher made one called the Elkhart (go figure... Elkhart Indiana)... I guess I would not be suprised if the Pan American contract ran out with Conn, and Martin took over making them, but for Martin to engrave CG Conn on one of their horns seems pretty remote.

Playing the sax is 90% mental and 50% physical, so if you believe it to be true, then that's all you need to succeed.

How does your Pan American play and what is the serial number?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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milandro

    Re: Pan American Alto
    the Pan American were the student line made by Conn and they took older models and re-fashioned them into a cheap model featuring no rolled toneholes and older mechanics, your example seems to have several characteristics of the wonder or wonder improved models.
    [url]http://www.saxpics.com/?v=gal&c=757[/url]
    [url]http://www.saxpics.com/?v=mod&modID=38[/url]
    [url]http://www.saxpics.com/?v=man&manID=3[/url]
Interesting sax no 15163 at the top of your first link is the spitting image of my sax. mine has the 1914 patent date so it hast be newer than that,but they sure look like the same horn Except mines brass and that one is silver plate.I have seen that story about adding something to the ser no to find the Conn no serval places but the nomber to add is always different.
 

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The OP's horn is indeed a Conn Wonder, rather than a Pan American. These were made in the nineteen teens, however Conn used that model for many of their stencil horns into the 1920's.

No chart currently exists for Conn's catalog of Pan Am and Stencil production serial numbers and manufacture dates. It was supposedly destroyed in a fire. "P" at the beginning of a serial number was Conn's designation for a Stencil, not exclusively their Pan American line. Indeed, not all extant Pan American horns have a P in their serial number. Most of Conn's stencils do however.

The Pan American was not technically a stencil in keeping with the meaning of the term, since it was always marketed as an intermediate line within the Conn family. Stencils are of course instruments contracted and branded by one firm, but made by another.

It is worth mentioning that there was an independent Indiana Band Instrument Company prior to Martin's buyout of that company in 1928, and subsequent use of that name for their student/intermediate lines beginning around 1942. I have an early 1920's, pre Martin era Indiana Band Instrument Company silver plated trumpet, and it is very much a pro quality instrument.

The same thing happened to Harry Pedler & co. clarinets. Harry Pedler sold the company in 1930 to Martin, and the brand was relegated from a maker of some pro lines to one of Martin's student lines.
 

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SAXISMYAXE is right about the vintage, and the Conn make. One certain clue is the key-touches with no pearls. Plain metal key-touches is something that Conn only did for a brief period. Most of those are pre-1920 saxophones. A few, very few, were pre-1905.
 

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Indiana was a stencil (student model) for the Martin Saxophone company. Everyone had a stencil in their model lineup. Buescher made one called the Elkhart (go figure... Elkhart Indiana)... I guess I would not be suprised if the Pan American contract ran out with Conn, and Martin took over making them, but for Martin to engrave CG Conn on one of their horns seems pretty remote.

Playing the sax is 90% mental and 50% physical, so if you believe it to be true, then that's all you need to succeed.

How does your Pan American play and what is the serial number?
My Pan Am tenor doesn't say CG Conn on it, I meant that Pan Am was owned by Conn for the purpose of marketing lower grade horns, as Buescher/ Elkhart, Martin/ Indiana. Like Dark Horses alto, most Pan Ams were I believe made by Conn, but clearly some were made by Martin, and Martins "The Indiana", which is identical to my Pan Am, was made by.... Well, Martin had long ago bought Indiana Band Inst Co.... but there were still two different factories.... even though they were the same company....That's why I drive a GMC - I know exactly who made it , no wait, those parts were never made in USA?
This I know for certain: the serial # is 64415, and corresponds to the serial # system for The Indiana line of the same vintage, which would be close to 1955, at the end of the Pan Ams existence.
And right now it doesn't play, although I must say for a second rate horn, it doesn't play pretty well.
 

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Conn " stencils " and lesser models marketed as Pan American didn't have pearl touches, as also Buesher stencils didn't (but very early horns didn't have them anyway) and were produced long after their Conn counterpart had gone out of production. I had a Bruno N.Y. Perfection baritone which was a Conn Wonder Improved and had no rolled toneholes and no pearls and was thought of being of the early '30 for the same reason that this one, I think, is. Conn used that model (as Saxismyaxe says ) during the '20 and when they were finished with it a Conn and more modern horns were introduced, they marketed it for stencils and second-lines.
 

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Conn " stencils " and lesser models marketed as Pan American didn't have pearl touches, as also Buesher stencils didn't...
I don't think you can generalize. I have owned Pan Am tenor/bari from 1929 (according to the "P" number and both had pearls. In fact they had the locking screws as well. Missing rolled tone holes, no X brace on the bari, and changes to the keywork, of which some were for the better, were the main differences from their Conn counterparts.
 

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ok, early conn stencils then ;)
 

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I"ve got one of those odd ball Pan American tenors that has the Martin body tube, beveled/soldered tone holes, and key work.
I can tell you that I've looked, and looked, and looked, but I can't find a serial number chart that can accuratly date these horns.
The original case, and 'modern' keywork date the horn to the mid-late '50s, but the serial number dates it to the early '20s. No *P* prefix on the serial number, or C.G. Conn stamped/engraved anywhere on the horn. Only Pan American USA.
The horn is lacquered brass, nickle keys and original neck, and has real Mother of Pearl touches.
I picked up an identical alto not too long ago from a member here that is just a few years older.
It seems that with so many of these horns out there that there should/would be an accurate record of manufacture dates.

Any of you 'experts' willing to start compiling photos and serial numbers to compare to other 'like year' horns to helps us poor confused Pan Am owners?
 

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Lots of enlightenment seeking web searching and my three project Conns from the teens, lead me to believe that Conn stencil / Pan American serial number lists that got burned up in the fire and are useful for dating mystery horns are a total myth created by evil web sharks intent on making us all confused to keep ebay prices down for the devoted bottom feeders among us (!) Two of my Conns are C-mels. The older of the two has a newer serial number: P5828, 0% lacquer, no pearls on the keys, a 1914 pat date, and is stenciled "The Abbott". It's a Conn Wonder type, like the OPs Pan American. The newer C-mel (pat date 1915) has an older serial number: P3798, pearl touches, silver plate, and is a common Wurlitzer stencil. It's dentical to The Abbott aside from the pearls. The third Conn stencil I have is a McClellan Universal with typical early New Wonder 1 construction details, a 1915 pat date, and a serial number of 38821 (1916 - 1917) which is consistent with Conn lists for the model. However, the left palm keys are the most recent version, different from earlier New Wonder 1s on SaxPics, matching the keys on later New Wonder 1s and New Wonder 2s. I don't know when the palm keys were changed, but it was also possible for older (already serial numbered) bodies to have sat around a while, eventually getting non matching newer keywork when a stencil order came in. So I propose a mass dashing of hopes for some mystery magical serial number list to rise from the ashes and take away our right to speculate. Or maybe nobody ever actually had that hope anyhow. Going over this stuff today made me notice how nice the McClellan really is, very green but complete and undamaged. It also has the set screws, anybody know when they began? Or the new palm keys?
 

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I"ve got one of those odd ball Pan American tenors that has the Martin body tube, beveled/soldered tone holes, and key work.
I can tell you that I've looked, and looked, and looked, but I can't find a serial number chart that can accuratly date these horns.
The original case, and 'modern' keywork date the horn to the mid-late '50s, but the serial number dates it to the early '20s. No *P* prefix on the serial number, or C.G. Conn stamped/engraved anywhere on the horn. Only Pan American USA.
The horn is lacquered brass, nickle keys and original neck, and has real Mother of Pearl touches.
I picked up an identical alto not too long ago from a member here that is just a few years older.
It seems that with so many of these horns out there that there should/would be an accurate record of manufacture dates.

Any of you 'experts' willing to start compiling photos and serial numbers to compare to other 'like year' horns to helps us poor confused Pan Am owners?
My Pan American tenor is the same as you describe, and it has a serial # that corresponds with "The Indiana by Martin" serial numbers. Not the same list as "The Martin", or the Conn built Pan Ams. Mine is stamped on the body and the neck, 64415, a bit later than a nearly identical "The Indiana by Martin" that sold recently on ebay. Look for listings like it and I'm sure you'll find your tenor there by another name. I often find that my saxophone models confusion goes away when I start to play, quickly replaced by some other even more scary thing.
 

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Here is my take on all this. Pan-American existed from the late teens until 1955. Those "Martin" ones may have been made during the war years (1940s) when production was limited at certain factories. There is no accurate serial number list. When Conn (who owned the P-A name since the teens) changed models (NW>6M) the P-A line soon changed too. The main difference was the lack of micro-tuner, G# trill, Rolled TH, etc.I collect Conn flutes and have a P-A flute with the original bill of sale in 1954 with 153,xxx so I would put 1955 at about 160,000. That would be about 4,000 woodwinds a year. Somewhere I have a date for an original 30s sax so maybe I can locate that to confirm. based on all of this, I would put the OP's horn at the late teens. One exception I have found is a late teens flute that uses the Conn serial numbers so the early P-As may have follwed Conn numbers. The theory of adding 50,000 to the Conn numbers seems iffy.
Some of the above posts seem to be guesses and I see no relation of the Martin use of P-A names (other than those few soldered tone hole models). There is also the possiblity that Courturier or some other Elkhart co. built a few for Conn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I want to thank everybody for their input. I have posted here and on the woodwind forum and this what i have so far My Pan American alto is a stencil of the earlier Conn wonder dated 1908 (see www.saxpics.com Sax Numbers 15163, 940X, 6327) the earliest mine could be is 1918 when Conn started making Pan Am Saxes Latest is 1921 the last year for plain brass finger pads. hopefully this will help anybody else that is looking for Info on an early Pan Am sax. If I find out any thing else Or more detailed Information I will post it back here For anybody that is interested to find. I am looking forward to getting this sax into playable condition

Mark:bluewink:
 
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