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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:43 pm

the elephant wrote: My BBb was a 1958 and my CC was a 1959. The BBb had the clockwork springs and the 1959 (made for US-use) had the spiral springs.


Interesting!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:03 pm

LJV wrote:
Someone is still making clockwork spring systems. They're an option on Cerveny tubas...

I am starting to think many of the differences on the Alex tubas depend not on when they were made, but on which artisan made them. I have heard of tubas of the same vintage and model having very different components.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:13 pm

Here is the clockwork machine from my old 1958 163 BBb. Note that it has the nylon bushings on the ends of the linkage arms. If yours does not have these then it may be older. But this was made in the era that I suspect your tuba to have been built.

Wade

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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ted Cox » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Building an instrument like an Alexander "anything" is a team effort within the shop. When I was in the building where they make the instruments, that team effort is evident everywhere. They had three tubas on a big table in various states of production and saw a couple of different people working on the tubas. All their brass instruments are hand made. It's amazing! 80% of manufacturing is horns, 10% Wagner tubas and the other 10% tubas and trumpets. They make about 80 horns per month, all of them sold before they make them. If you want a tuba, you order it with a down payment and wait. I still think the tuba is 50's, but I could be wrong. I would bet 50's before I bet 1917. I'll be curious to find out. Most likely Reimund will answer your email and he'll make a guess at it.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:26 pm

Ted Cox wrote: I still think the tuba is 50's, but I could be wrong. I would bet 50's before I bet 1917.


I am thinking the same thing as you and Wade - I will call my friend and see how he came up with 1917, and I do look forward to a response from Alexander. It really doesn't matter to me what the age is, I love the horn. This is just pure curiosity on my part!
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:52 pm

Your horn is mighty nice, regardless.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:00 pm

the elephant wrote:Your horn is mighty nice, regardless.

ty, Wade
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:01 pm

OK, talked to my friend I bought this from. The person that sold it to him in late 1969 was his teacher at WVU (a somewhat adjunct professor) who was a teacher in the area. The person told him it had come to Pittsburgh from NYC in the 50s when the owner before him had moved there to play. It had been used in an opera orchestra (supposedly the Met) up to that point and was then played in Pittsburgh. It supposedly had come from Germany to NY in the 20s. He also said he was told the horn had been played in Germany during WWI. My friend had another call while we were talking so I will have more info - maybe more clarity to follow.
Last edited by Stryk on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:15 pm

The story and the facts don't seem to be lining up, but I was thinking what if the linkage was replaced in the 50s? If the horn was indeed from the teens, the linkage would have needed updating by then. I know this is a stretch, but I believe anything this man tells me, and he seems to have believed the person he bought it from.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tuben » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:55 pm

tbn.al wrote:You have to be very careful when you date an Alex. Some folks round these parts wound up married to 'em.


With two mistresses (mistersirs?) to boot. (wtf is the male parallel of mistress?)
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby tuben » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:57 pm

tstryk wrote:Is it possible to date an older Alex tuba?


The sex is hardly worth the headache.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby bloke » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:04 pm

Wade,

Do you think it is possible that the original (worn/clicky) bronze bushings were drilled out of those S-arms and replaced with nylon?

Nylon bushings, it seems to me, were an invention that arrived around the late 60's/early 70's.

As an example, my grey-market MIRAPHONE 186-CC from 1974 (as did my teacher's 1968 model) had nylon bushings in the S-arms ("big stuff" and immediately preceding "DVS" linkage), but some "A DIVISION OF THE GETZEN CO." MEINl-WESTON tubas (from the 1960's) still featured bronze bushings.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Chris Mayer » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:36 am

Hi everybody,

I just want to share some info on an older Alex tuba.

In Feb 2012, I have acquired this 6 valve Alex Wiener Tuba (3+3). Based on an Alex Instrument catalogue from 1967 as one depicted in Heyde's "Das Ventilblasinstrument: Seine Entwicklung Im Deutschsprachigen Raum Von Den Anfangen Bis Zur Gegenwart (Instruments with Valves: Their Development in german spoken areas from the beginning up to presence), ISBN 3765102253", I though this Tuba is from the 50- to 60-ties:

- spiral spring,
- s-linkage
- valve caps
- no serial # on the 2nd valve
- 38 cm bell diameter (1967 catalogue has 36 cm bell diameter)
- hand hammered bell, no gusset
- 440 pitch

It turned out, that the Tuba was made 1938.
- 1938 engaved on bell garland
- oak leave engravement, never seen on post war garland engravement
- smaller garland width

Pictures have been taken as purchased. There were some wrinkles in the bell alraedy removed. The body had just the small dents visible in the picture (removed at the Alex Shop in the meantime). Compression is still very good. I had Alexander put the bearings they have used in their anniversary French Horn 103 to the S-linkages to eliminated the noise from the older steel pins. Sound is full and resonant.

Conclusion:
- I might have one old the oldest Alex Tubas arround but all the little details (bell diameter, no gusset) have made me believe this is a post-war 50-60 ties tuba. I was off by 20 to 30 years.
- As long as the mechanics work (compression) and the material is in good shape (no zinc corrosion within the brass, no cracks) age does not matter. Its a good tuba and just by accident more than 70 years old. (However, I know how Alex F tubas can look and play like after some 30-40 years intense use in military or philharmonic orchestra. This tuba must have been sitting arround for some time. I also believe, that the uncommon 3+3 setup saved the tuba from beeing worn out)
-If I would have known the age beforehand, I would have been biased and thought twice, maybe not even went to the shop.

Chris
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:44 am

I never thought about inspecting the bell garland for clues.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ted Cox » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:10 am

Thanks for sharing the photo of this wonderful old F tuba. I would like it if you could post a clear photo of the engraving on the bell garland, including the date. When I looked at the photo, before reading what you wrote, what jumped out at me was the narrowness of the garland. This is a model 156 F tuba with the Viennese fingering system. I have one of these horns, but it was converted so that anyone could play it. My bell diameter is 370 cm. The bell diameter specs. for both the 155 and 157 are 380 cm. A diameter of 360 cm would be quite small and probably a very clear sound. The city of Mainz was bombed in WWII and the Alexander building was destroyed. Some time must have passed to not only wait for the war to end, but also rebuild and retool. A tuba from 1938 makes sense and it's a wonder that it survived, considering history. I think your theory about it not being played much due to the fingering system is spot on. If you saw my 50 year old plus F tuba, you would think it was made recently due to the condition. Thanks for sharing the info. and the photo.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby the elephant » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:40 pm

bloke wrote:Wade,

Do you think it is possible that the original (worn/clicky) bronze bushings were drilled out of those S-arms and replaced with nylon?

Nylon bushings, it seems to me, were an invention that arrived around the late 60's/early 70's.

As an example, my grey-market MIRAPHONE 186-CC from 1974 (as did my teacher's 1968 model) had nylon bushings in the S-arms ("big stuff" and immediately preceding "DVS" linkage), but some "A DIVISION OF THE GETZEN CO." MEINl-WESTON tubas (from the 1960's) still featured bronze bushings.


They appear to have been hammered in, rather than pressed in with a proper tool, but that could have been done at the factory or over here. It was Ev's tuba, and he had little upgrades to most of his horns. This one had been purchased in 1965 from the original owner when Ev was in Europe. It would not surprise me at all, given Don Little's former relationship with Miraphone and his close friendship with Ev, to find out that Don had that done for him at some point. My 1959 CC 163 came with S arms that had bronze bushings.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby jeopardymaster » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:01 pm

PM sent.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby ftempas » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:38 pm

Don't know if your question was answered, but I have a 163 that I know was built in 1971 (I picked it up from the factory) that (other than the silver plate on mine) looks very similar. Same paddles, linkages (with bronze bushings), bracing, and engraving on the valve caps.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Stryk » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:17 am

ftempas wrote:Don't know if your question was answered, but I have a 163 that I know was built in 1971 (I picked it up from the factory) that (other than the silver plate on mine) looks very similar. Same paddles, linkages (with bronze bushings), bracing, and engraving on the valve caps.

I think that is part of the trouble - they ALL look similar. The small differences don't seem to indicate the year, so I am thinking that perhaps each artisan makes braces, engraving, etc differently. I have sent two emails to the factory (one English, one German) and no answer yet.
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Re: Dating an Alex

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:12 pm

Responses from Alexander can take a while. You may end up waiting a week up to a month, depending on their holiday vacations. They will get back to you. I believe when I emailed them (in english), they contacted me directly with their aproximite answer from some of the "old workers" There was no direct record of my instrument, but they did confirm the design was consistent with the story I have been given when I purchased the instrument.
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