Rudall Rose Carte & Co. box engravingRRC engraved barrel embouchure

Rudall Rose Carte & Co.
S# 594 c1870; 1867 System; London; solid silver body & mechanism, soldered; sl 587mm (571mm min); 433g; .0075"h/.011"b

An excellent modification of the Boehm fingering system, along with a healthy dose of British curmudgeonism, kept the "improved" 1867 system alive and in production well past the middle of the 20th century.

The previous owner found this flute, black with tarnish, in a vintage instrument shop in Philadelphia.  During restoration, this beautiful silver instrument slowly emerged.

Barrel embouchure
The elegantly engraved barrel embouchure is surprisingly free blowing and, with assistance from very thin head and body tubing, delivers a strong bottom end.  The riser is carved through a layer of wood sandwiched between the embouchure barrel and the head tube.

All thumbsOpen G#LEFT: Note the "backward" layout of  the non-Briccialdi thumb keys.  Closing the upper key only give B natural, adding the lower gives Bb, opposite but more logical than the standard Boehm flute.  The 1867 system fingering also sounds an open D without added trill keys.

RIGHT:  Note the Dorus (normally open) G#.  All left hand fingers down gives a G, lifting the little finger gives G# -- again, backward from the modern fingering, yet again, more logical in that the more fingers down, the lower the note.  This system also allows a truer E3 to sound without added mechanism of split-E or high E facilitator.

Missing upper R1 touchLove the organic flow to shape of R4 key cluster!Unaltered F# TouchCradled Roller for Low C
LEFT:  In the 1867 system the R1 normally controls two touches.  The upper touch gives F# (and closes the open G#) while the lower touch sounds F natural.  In an early modification of this flute, the upper touch was removed, requiring the use of modern split fingering for the F# (and remembering to close the open G#). The smaller photo shows a similar flute with an unaltered F# touch.

RIGHT:  The logic of the open G# doesn't carry through to include an open D# -- too many objections from the old fogies, no doubt.  Note the elegant, flowing R4 touches for D# and C#.

ABOVE:  The close-up "clamshell" shows the cradle supporting the low C roller hidden beneath the C# touch.

C.D.I. engraved on barrelTiny letters "C.D.I." are engraved on the back of the barrel. I was naturally curious if this might be the maker's initials, or perhaps a coded serial number. Eventually Mark Norman came to the rescue and let me know that when Rudall Rose Carte and Company began making metal flutes, they did indeed use a simple code based on the word "MUSICTRADE" with M=1, U=2, S=3 etc. So "C.D.I." represents metal flute #594. They apparently became bored with the code or found it too cumbersome when they reached four digit numbers....

Soldered tone hole closeupThe 1867 Patent flute is in some respects superior to the Boehm flute that has become standardized today.  A major drawback is the increased complexity of the mechanism.  However, once it is properly set up, it is very robust and stable, requiring minimal adjustment -- almost, but not quite, exactly unlike the Windows 98 operating system.

GoferJoe's Flutes
GoferJoe's Personal Page
GoferJoe's Arts Burrow

Images © J. W. Sallenger