Buffet Crampon & Cie overview

BC&Cie Unistrap

Buffet-Crampon & Cie.
c.1885-1895; Paris; Boehm system; soldered maillechort(?) seamed body & mechanism to low C, closed G#; metal clad wood indicator crown; A~438; sl 605mm; 362g; .0125"h .0125"b

Jean Louis Buffet (d. 1865), son of a La Couture instrument maker, established his shop around 1830. By 1844 he had added "Crampon," the name of his wife's family, perhaps to better distinguish his instruments from those of his uncle Auguste. "Buffet-Crampon & Cie." resulted from an 1859 restructuring when Buffet entered into partnership with Paul Goumas (his niece's husband), who as successor retained the name upon the death of Jean Louis in 1865.

The workforce of 15 in 1855 had grown to over 80 by 1885, initially gaining prestige for their reed instruments.  By 1878 the firm was exhibiting dozens of different kinds of woodwinds, including the flute family.  In 1908 Alexandre Robert, successor to the Rive firm, lodged an official complaint that a Paris Conservatoire student had been refused instruction because he was playing one of his bassoons rather than one by Buffet-Crampon. 
(New Langwill Index by William Waterhouse, publ. Tony Bingham, London)

body seam, engraving and number

The maillechort body appears unplated, with very fine pitting evident throughout but solder joins in good condition.  The quite thin .0125" tubing is not extruded but rolled and soldered, with the seam running down the inner (chin) side of the headjoint and along the outer edge of the body and footjoint straps. The body engraving on the left shows the seam bisecting the "B" in Buffet.  The footjoint engraving on the right shows the seam cutting through the "n" in Crampon.  Head engraving is identical to the foot.

footjoint engraving
crown with indicator - externalwooden screw cork indicatorBeneath the metal plating, the wood crown is female threaded to mate with the wooden screw cork adjuster and perforated for the metal cork position indicator

set screws on trill mechanism
Above note the nicely pointed arms to the trill pad cups.  The arms and touches are soldered to the sleeves, and the D# sleeves are then attached to the steel with dual set screws at both ends.

set screws

unistrap and body seam
The cleanly beveled and pointed mechanism strap unifies the trill posts with the mechanism of the main key string.  Continuity of the strap is broken to allow generous spring clearance for the closed G#.

foot cluster

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A key
The main evidence of the amount of play this nice instrument has survived over the last century is seen in the A key pad cup, which has been replaced.  Quite a nice match, but apparently fabricated from a closed pad cup and slightly deeper than the original.
A key side view