Gautrot 5-key flute
Gautrot aîné 5 sections disassembled

Gautrot aîné
c.1880; Paris; conical, five section, five key, simple system; wood, nickel silver ferrules, post & rod keys; sl 522mm; 290g.

In 1827 Auguste G. Guichard founded a brass instrument manufacturing industry just as mass production techniques were beginning to influence the heretofore cottage industries of the day.  In 1835 Pierre Louis Gautrot joined the firm, and in 1845 he assumed leadership and the name was changed.  Two years later over 40% of the entire Paris brass instrument making workforce was employed by the Gautrot concern, which was the first such maker to use steam power. 

Strings and woodwinds were added in 1855, two years later including the flutemaking concern of Jean-Louis Tulou, a well known flutist and life-long advocate of the traditional conical flute who was also a member of the Paris Conservatoire and their official supplier of flutes from 1831-59.

The firm's name became 'Gautrot aîné et cie' in 1870, changed to 'Couesnon, Gautrot et cie' in 1883, and then to 'Couesnon et cie' in 1888.  In 1875 the trade names 'Gautrot-Marquet' and 'Gautrot aîné' were registered, the former designating their highest quality instruments.  It is uncertain how long these marks were used or if they survived the firm's subsequent name changes.

On the right above the 'GAUTROT AINE/A PARIS' is the monogram, "G" (anchor) "A" within an oval cartouche.

Gautrot aîné maker's mark and temporary crack repair
D sharp and F natural post and rod keys The standard round post-and-rod keys are of nickel silver and use leaf springs held in place by set screws.  For the shorter keys, holes were drilled completely through the finger touches, threads tapped, the screws inserted and the protruding screw end filed flush with they key top (visible on upper key touch at right). Spring screws: underside D# and topside E# touch
Wood crown and screw cork adjustor Crown and cork adjust indicatorThe dome crown is female threaded to mate with the wooden screw cork adjuster and perforated for the metal pin cork position indicator. Just exactly what that setting is supposed to be, I haven't a clue, so I resort to the "trial by error" method.

So much for sticking with Boehm and Boehm variant flutes.  In my defense, this flute was given to me by Steve Cole, who acquired it from an estate in New South Wales.  It has opened up a new appreciation for the conical flute and the "simple system's" requisite finger calisthenics!

The flute had been left assembled for a few too many decades and tenons were hopelessly stuck, the tuning barrel was cracked, a ferrule was missing entirely, and naturally the pads -- well, they simply weren't. I think the left hand section is original to this instrument, the wood grains match and it fits well despite the relative lightness of the wood's finish. Thanks to Jim Gleason of Old World Music, who took it as a personal challenge to bring this flute back to playing condition!

Information on Gautrot was supplied in part by George A. Conrey's The Sarrusophone - An Update, Part Two article in The Journal of the International Double Reed Society No. 17, 1989.  And of course the William Waterhouse New Langwill Index continues to be an invaluable resource. 

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