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Trombone by Johann Paul Franck, Hildburghausen, Thuringia, 1744

NMM 4896.  Trombone by Johann Paul Franck, Hildburghausen, Thuringia, 1744

NMM 4896. Tenor trombone by Johann Paul Franck, Hildburghausen, Thuringia (Germany), 1744. Engraved on bell garland: * MACHT * IOHANN * PAULL * FRANCK * IN * HILDBURG * HAUSSEN * ANNO * 1744.  Ex coll.:  Ernst Buser, Basel, Switzerland. Purchase funds gift of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford E. Graese, Orlando, Florida, 1990.

Hildburghausen is a small town located about sixty miles north of Nürnberg, near Coburg. According to local church records, Johann Paul Joseph Franck (d. 1747) was a maker of hunting horns, trombones, and a brass founder for the local court of Duke Ernst Friedrich II (1724-1745). The NMM's finely engraved and embossed brass trombone, with silver-plated fittings, was built just three years before Franck's death. Only two other instruments by this talented Thuringian maker are known to survive:  two hunting horns, the first dated 1722, preserved at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (W3014), Nürnberg; and the second, dated 1746, at the Stadtmuseum Hildburghausen.


Views of the Bell Garland

Note: Click on images below to see larger images.

Maker's signature on trombone by Johann Paul Franck, Hildburghausen, Thuringia, 1744

Franck's signature is stamped around the inner circumference of the silver-plated bell garland. In this image, the date, 1744, and the words, MACHT * IOHANN (made by Johann . . .), can be seen. Although the brass bell was joined in the traditional way, using tab seams, both the exterior and interior of the bell clearly show concentric lines that result from spinning the bell during the instrument's construction.

Bell rim decoration on Franck trombone

A garland of swags is engraved below the maker's signature. Here, the maker's middle and last name, PAULL * FRANCK, are visible.

Bell garland engraving of first part of city name, Hildeburg

Text visible in this image:  FRANCK * IN * HILDBURG * HAUSSEN * .  The silver rim wire is embossed in a delicate and detailed floral pattern.

Bell garland engraving of last part of city name, Haussen

Text visible in this image:  HAUSSEN * ANNO * 1744

Bell garland engraving of date, 1744

The text, * ANNO * 1744, completes the maker's signature and identifies the year in which the trombone was completed.


Bell Stays

Note: Click on images below to see larger images.

Bell stay on Franck trombone Bell stay on Franck trombone

The silver-plated saddle surrounds the entire circumference of the bell pipe. The hinge, hinge-pin, ferrules, and bell stays are also silver-plated. On the neck-pipe side, the bell stay is attached to an engraved silver ferrule that is flanked by two similarly engraved ferrules.

Detail of bell stay on Franck trombone Detail of bell stay on Franck trombone

The flat, silver-plated bell stays are embellished on both sides with a central floral engraving.


Slide Stays and Ferrule

Slide stays on Franck trombone

The brass slide stays are made from embossed, machine-made garnishes featuring delicate floral and geometric motifs.


Slide stays on Franck trombone

The brass slide ferrules feature engraved rings.


Literature:  Stewart Carter, "Early Trombones in America's Shrine to Music Museum," Historic Brass Society Journal 10 (1998), pp. 96-98, 108-109.

Return to Checklist of Trombones Made Before 1800

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