Theodore Berteling silver flute c. 1860

T. Berteling and Co. N.Y. barrel engraving

Theodore Berteling
c.1860; New York; Boehm system; silver body and mechanism, soldered tube and tone holes; A~448; sl 588mm; 397g; .011"h .014"b

From 1855 until 1890 Theodore Berteling (1821-90) made various keyed system flutes in wood, ivory and metal. An inventor as well as a craftsman, in 1868 he took out the first American patent for improvements specifically to the Boehm system flute.  Several of Berteling's innovations can be seen in the images here.

Characteristic of his work are the "raised nipple" pad cups with fairly long "Y" hinge arms.  This instrument has a striking "diagonal scroll" design lip plate with oak leaf and acorn engraving.  Circumferential decorative engraving is also found at the flute ends, ferrules, foot tenon receiver, and barrel surrounding the maker's mark "T. Berteling & Co. NY."

diagonal scroll embouchure

twin axle thumb mechanism
Notice the separate axles for the thumb key and the Briccialdi Bb lever.  This is a much more stable and durable arrangement, greatly reducing the "slop" that comes with wear.  You can also see where the B-C trill touch connects to the right end of the thumb key arm.  The palm crutch receiver is at the lower left, but the "T" shape crutch itself has gone missing.
ball adjuster
In his 1868 patent Berteling moved all clutches for the coupling of the keys to the back side of the flute (see images of  later wood Berteling flute).  This flute has ball adjusters much like the standard Boehm arrangement, leading me to surmise that it may predate Berteling's patent.
back connector with adjusting screws
R1 and L4 touches
LEFT: The upper R1 trill touch is B-C rather than Bb.  The lower touch duplicates L3 for G-A or G#-A trills.  G# is (thankfully) closed.trill springs
Trill key spring arrangement is unique.  The attachment point is an extension of the upper post of the left hand mechanism and also acts to stabilize the trill rod.
wood crown and pin inidcator
The wood crown is female threaded to mate with the wooden screw cork adjuster and perforated for the silver pin cork position indicator. Crown was originally silver clad and engraved.
silver strap along solder seamBerteling barrel, lip and footBerteling's workmanship on this flute is fine throughout.  The mechanism has held up remarkably well over the decades, and the only evidence of repair would be the 5mm by 60mm silver strip applied longitudinally along the headjoint to reinforce the seam between the embouchure and the tenon.

The instrument plays well and produces a delicate but very clear sound.  The scale is quite usable, but an overhaul with thinner pads would allow for proper venting and probably improve intonation.

A special thanks to Peter Spohr's article on early American Boehm flutes in the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (Volume XXV) for a most detailed description and commentary on a similar and probably later flute of Theodore Berteling.

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Images © J. W. Sallenger