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Trombone by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1701

NMM 4649.  Trombone by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nuremberg, 1701

NMM 4649. Tenor trombone by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nürnberg, 1701. Engraved on bell garland: I C K [jumping horse facing forward] / MACHT · IOHANN CARL · KODISCH · NVRNB 1701.  Ex coll.:  Ernst Buser, Binningen, Switzerland. Purchase funds gift of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford E. Graese, Orlando, Florida, 1989.

The Bell Garland and Kodisch's Master's Mark

Note: Click on images below to see larger images.

Maker's signature on trombone by Johann Carl Kodisch, Imperial City of Nuremberg, 1701

Similarities between certain decorative elements on instruments made by Johann Carl Kodisch (1654-1721) and those of the Hainlein family, also of of Nürnberg, suggest the possibility that Johann may either have apprenticed or worked closely with one or more of the Hainleins. These similarities include the styles of the engraved tendrils and the five-petaled flower designs seen on the trombone's bell garland and bell stay, as well as the hatching pattern found on the bell section at the point where the bell stay is joined to the bell.

Johann Kodisch's son, Daniel (1686-1747), married Margareta Hainlein (1687-1732), a daughter of Michael Hainlein (ca. 1659-1713), with whom Daniel presumably apprenticed. Upon Michael's death, Daniel Kodisch took over his father-in-law's business, as well as his master's mark (a rooster facing left), thereby uniting two of Nürnberg's great brass-instrument-making families.

Maker's signature on Kodisch trombone

Bell garland engraving showing horse

Kodisch's mark on a horn

Johann Carl Kodisch was admitted to the Nürnberg brass instrument maker's guild in 1681, after which he registered his master's mark, a prancing horse facing left, accompanied by his initials, ICK, as seen in this engraving on the 1701 trombone.


Although the artistic style is quite different, Kodisch's prancing horse and initials are clearly visible on the garland of NMM 7459, a natural horn in F made by Johann Carl Kodisch in 1684.

The inner edge of the garland terminates in a ring of scallop-shells of very high quality, similar to those seen on the Museum's Kodisch horn. Presumably, they were first punched at the front and then raised with a spherical punch tool from the back.

Bell garland engraving of Kodisch's name

Bell garland engraving showing NVRNB

Kodisch's trombone, as well as his trumpets, features a highly flared bell, atypical for its time. According to Robert Barclay, author of The Art of the Trumpet-Maker: The Materials, Tools, and Techniques of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in Nuremberg (London: Clarendon Press, 1992), "The increased flare was achieved simply through thinning the metal by more hammering. As a direct result of this thinness the bell garland was required to be wider and also to follow closely the contour of the bell to offer better support. This widening led, in turn, to the use of more elaborate decoration."

In this view, the year in which the trombone was built—1701—follows an abbreviation (NVRNB) of the name of the city in which it was made.

Bell garland engraving showing date, 1701

Bell Stay

Note: Click on images below to see larger images.

Bell stay on Kodisch trombone Bell stay on Kodisch trombone

The single, flat bell stay is embellished on both sides with engraved flowers and leaves. It is connected to the bell pipe with a hinge and pin.

Detail of bell stay on Kodisch trombone Detail of bell stay on Kodisch trombone

Literature:  Lyndesay G. Langwill, An Index of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers, 6th edition (Edinburgh: Lyndesay G. Langwill, 1980), p. 93.

Howard Weiner, "The Trombone, Changing Times, Changing Slide Positions (Part 2)," Brass Bulletin 36 (1981), pp. 59-60.

"Treasures from the Age of Louis XIV," Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 17, No. 1 (October 1989), p. 1.

"1989 Acquisitions at USD Music Museum," Newsletter of the American Musical Instrument Society 19, No. 1 (February 1990), p. 14.

Stewart Carter, "Early Trombones in America's Shrine to Music Museum," Historic Brass Society Journal 10 (1998), pp. 94-96, 105-107.

Return to Checklist of Trombones Made Before 1800

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