Rudall, Carte & Co. Cocus American Model Boehm System
Condition: Full restoration / overhaul by David Chu. Repair to tenon (by D. Chu) and previously sealed crack on back of head joint (pictured / very hard to see under ambient light - expertly done.) The work performed by David totaled $2320.
This flute was our client's main instrument for many years and was meticulously kept.
Serial Number: 5771 / 1916 / American Model
Solid Sterling Silver Keys and Mechanism
Sterling Silver Rings on Headjoint and Footjoint
Simple Key Cups (Closed Hole)
"Flat Pitch" (A=440hz)
C Foot Joint
Comes with original case, cleaning rod and cork grease pot
This is a gorgeous flute. It has a clear yet warm sound of cocus, and plays with ease in both the low and upper register.
Dr. Robert Bigio researched this flute extensively for the previous owner. Here is what he wrote:
"Serial Number 5771. Completed 17 May 1916. Cocus American model, gold springs, lined head, "flat (modern) pitch". Made by Barker. Sold 1 June 1916 to W.R. Gibbs, Boston.
The American model usually had simple key cups (not pointed ones), adjusting screws and two rollers on the footjoint, so the description matches your flute perfectly. Some of the Rudall Carte workers referred to this design as the the "Boehm & Mendler model". There are similarities between this flute and the early wooden flutes made by Haynes in Boston, which were based on Boehm & Mendler flutes.
It is surprising that the record mentions a lined head because almost all Rudall Carte flutes were made like this. Very occasionally (and usually for the American market) they made unlined ones. Flat pitch means modern pitch (more or less), as opposed to high pitch, which was A=452, a quarter-tone about modern pitch. I say "more or less" because these flutes were made to nominal pitches between A=435 and A=439 but often play a bit higher than that. I can't tell you much about Barker other than that I knew an old boy who had been apprenticed at Rudall Carte in the late 1920s who remembered a fellow named Barker, who made Radcliff model flutes. There seem to have been two Barkers, Junior and Senior, and I can't be certain which one made your flute. Barker is a rather common name, so these two men are not easy to trace in the census records where I can often find information.
W.R. Gibbs was a Boston dealer who was Rudall Carte's agent in the USA. It is interesting that this flute made its way across the Atlantic during World War One. Just after the war, the USA imposed a 40% import duty on foreign-made instruments, which lost the American market for Rudall Carte. This was one of the reasons for the firm's decline.
Your flute looks in lovely condition. I am quite envious!