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Discussion Starter #1
First - let me apologize if I am overlooking a discussion somewhere. I have this horn, Silver plate - appears to me to be circa 1920's. Also appears to be a Conn stencil from the octave mechanism. My research leads me to the Volkwein Brothers out of Pittsburgh. I see the Volkwein Brothers made other instruments, many in Europe.

If anyone can direct me to a repository of information pertaining to these horns I would be most appreciative, or in the alternative, any one have any ideas or info?
 

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Your best best is to post good pictures. As you mentioned, the best way to tell who made a sax is by looking for basic features from one maker or the other. Even tho Conn, Buescher, Martin etc. didn't put their exclusive features like rolled holes or snap pads on stencil horns, their basic body and key configuration remained.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Your best best is to post good pictures. As you mentioned, the best way to tell who made a sax is by looking for basic features from one maker or the other. Even tho Conn, Buescher, Martin etc. didn't put their exclusive features like rolled holes or snap pads on stencil horns, their basic body and key configuration remained.
Here are some pics. Hope someone recognized this bad boy. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
More pictures of the Volkwein Pitt American. It is not stamped L for low pitch - were every low pitch horn stamped?
 

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It was made by King and the left side bell keys would make it similar to the Cleveland models. Volkweins is/was a large Pittsburgh music store and had the horns built for them. They sold a lot of different stencil horns. Probably from the 1935-1950 era. The neck brace would put it in the 1940 region. The pointed key cups make it a King.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That makes sense Bruce now that I look closer at the High F key - it is identical to a 1934 Zephyr I had my hands on not too long ago. Good news that it is that modern - so no high pitch issue. Thanks a ton for your information. Do these have much value?
 

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Dammit....Bruce beat me to it.

Other elements which scream King, besides the keycups: the "w" neckbrace & the wiggly octave stem.

I would say it's not as late as '50. It certainly has some elements of Clevelands, plus a few of horns as early as the Voll-Trues. It has the forked Eb key. Also the G# trill. I would put this at a late 30's/pre-war '40's. In which case it probably has a value a bit less than a VT-II, so probably around a $550-650 horn in good playing shape. Less if it doesn't play or does but has some body damage.

That's a pretty cool ol' horn, really. It almost looks to be made of various parts from various King models....One does wonder if it sounds more like VT-II or a Cleve (?)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Jaye,

You and Bruce have answered everything! You guys rock! On day I hope to be as knowledgeable - until then I promise that I will test the two horns (I have a Cleveland in the shop as well) once I have them playing and let you know my humble opinion on this thread as to if the two sound alike. One I am just doing a PC on, the Cleveland, the Pitt will be a full restoration with custom kangaroo pads and possibly Resotech boosters. And yes - it is immaculate - not sure if I even saw a ding. No appreciable wear to the silver (the thumb hook which typically loses plating early - is barely polished. Original silver on this horn appears to be 100%. I think she will really be a free blower once I'm done.
Thanks again to you both for sharing you experience and knowledge with us mere mortals.
-bob
 

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That's excellent. I love Cleves ...and I also love the older 30's-'40's model Zephs and VT-II's. S20's get all of the attention but the Kings from this period are very, very sweet sounding instruments. And despite their keytouches looking a bit clunky, I have found that they actually sit very well under the fingers.

If that silverplate is in such great shape, it's a pretty good bet she'll be a keeper after some work. Come back with a report on that one....
 

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I agree with Jaye on the good playing aspects of these pre-war Kings. Whether it is more Cleveish or Vollish really is not that important as the Cleves are great horns even at the end of the run.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll keep my fingers crossed. It will be a little while before I can get to it - but I hope she plays as nice as she looks.

-bob
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK - took a whileto get to but I am done with this horn. Here are some "after" pictures. This baby has a HUGE FAT sound. I installed custom made white kangaroo pads with Reso-Tech silver boosters. She looks pretty sexy IMHO.

Horn is currently listed on eBay.

Thanks to everyone for helping me figure out the pedigree!

-bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15
More pictures. Check the before photos to refresh the memory. . . :bluewink:
 

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Based on the 3 digit serial #, I suspect it is an American Standard. As for what is the difference between an AS and a Cleveland...I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Based on the 3 digit serial #, I suspect it is an American Standard. As for what is the difference between an AS and a Cleveland...I don't know.
Hi,
Thanks for your response! It is my understanding that all the stencils have their own serial numbering separate from the original manufacturer. So a Conn stencil could be a 3 digit SN# just like a King stencil or any other stencil. Isn't that the case?

I looked at some old American Standard adds and the keyguards are different - so I don't think it is a AS. (But I'm the one asking - so I certainly don't know for sure.) The Clevland looks the closest as far as tonehole placement and key setup to me. Although the low d key guard is different. The horn really speaks but to me it seems tht you need large hands to really be comfortable.
-bob
 

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Hi,
Thanks for your response! It is my understanding that all the stencils have their own serial numbering separate from the original manufacturer. So a Conn stencil could be a 3 digit SN# just like a King stencil or any other stencil. Isn't that the case?
I looked at some old American Standard adds and the keyguards are different - so I don't think it is a AS. (But I'm the one asking - so I certainly don't know for sure.) The Clevland looks the closest as far as tonehole placement and key setup to me. Although the low d key guard is different. The horn really speaks but to me it seems tht you need large hands to really be comfortable.
-bob
My AS is serial number:
o
256​

It has same exact same keyguards and had the same neck (no longer with it)
has the same shape palm keys with more arch than Art Deco Zephyrs and I think, Voll-Trues. (not sure about Clevelands).
Also... it has the very same engraving! (the only difference being the "verbiage")

After fairly casual inspection, the only difference I see is the bottom bow guard which mine is a simple rounded point whereas yours has that sort of "Ogee" point thing goin' on (same as the Art Deco Zephyrs).

FWIW, I did a visual side by side comparison of my AS and my Art Deco Zephyr tenors. Except for the forked Eb, which my Z does not have, they appeared to have the same body tubes(w/soldered tone holes). Where i could easily measure using "old school" vernier calipers, they were pretty much identical...that's a good thing right?.:mrgreen:

BTW. your horn looks marrverous!
 

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One easy way to identify King products is that the Cleveland/AS have left side bell keys and the VT II, Z and S20 have right side bell keys. Before about 1933 opposing bell keys on all.
The pointed key cups are a King mainstay.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My AS is serial number:
o
256​

It has same exact same keyguards and had the same neck (no longer with it)
has the same shape palm keys with more arch than Art Deco Zephyrs and I think, Voll-Trues. (not sure about Clevelands).
Also... it has the very same engraving! (the only difference being the "verbiage")

After fairly casual inspection, the only difference I see is the bottom bow guard which mine is a simple rounded point whereas yours has that sort of "Ogee" point thing goin' on (same as the Art Deco Zephyrs).

FWIW, I did a visual side by side comparison of my AS and my Art Deco Zephyr tenors. Except for the forked Eb, which my Z does not have, they appeared to have the same body tubes(w/soldered tone holes). Where i could easily measure using "old school" vernier calipers, they were pretty much identical...that's a good thing right?.:mrgreen:

BTW. your horn looks marrverous!
Wow - thanks for going to all that trouble! I think you are right. American Standard. Another hint is the stencil name "Pitt American". But if the engraving is the same, sans the name and with everything else - I think it is an King - American Standard stencil beyond a doubt. BTW - thanks for the compliment on my restoration. I specialize in restoring the old silver plated horns. Predominantly - The Conn New Wonder IIs (Chu's) but have restore a '39 Zephyr that was awsome, Bueschers too, etc. I have the horn for sale on eBay right now. Thanks again for your time and - you are right. It is a great looking horn - and it sounds just a good! Not surprising it matches the Zephyr body. That is a very good thing IMHO.

-bob
 
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