It won't be long after starting to take an interest in 19th century English flutes that you'll run into a flute marked Metzler.  And they become a bit of a recurring theme.  Even so, it doesn't seem like anyone has taken time to study these flutes.  It might be useful to have a place where we can build up information about this company.

The Metzler family

The NLI (New Langwell Index) tells us that we are dealing with a family, Valentine; his son George Richard; and Valentine's grandson George Thomas.  The NLI notes two markings:

  • METZLER LONDON (in an articulated scroll), and


but it doesn't seem quite as simple as that, because as we look at the various generations, they also seemed to have their own marks.  Hopefully we can clarify this as we go along.

Valentine Metzler

Sticking with the NLI for the moment, we're told Valentine was born in Bingen am Rhein, and died in London in 1833.  He set up in London in 1788, opened a music warehouse around 1800, and worked in woodwinds under his own name until 1816.  Valentine's mark is given as V. Metzler / London (in scroll).  His address is given as 105 Wardour St.

Metzler & Son

Valentine's son George Richard joined him in 1816 as Metzler & Son.  George was born in London in 1797, making him 19 at the time.  He died in 1867, age 70.

It's not clear from the NLI entry if the name Metzler & Son made it on to flutes, or they continued to use one of the marks above.  The address remains 105 Wardour.

Metzler & Co

Valentine died in 1833, prompting a change in name to Metzler & Co.  In 1866 George Richard retired, leaving his son George Thomas and Frank Chappell to run the company.  George Thomas died in 1979.  The next year, their stock-in-trade of music plates was sold at auction (perhaps suggesting a move out of the music publishing area?).  Chappel died in 1886.  In 1893 it became a limited company, and was bought out by J.B. Cramer in 1931.

The NLI gives two marks in use by the company:

  • METZLER / LONDON /105 WARDOUR ST (same as the second mark give under Metzler family), and

  • Metzler & Co., 37 Great Marlborough St., London

Martin Metzler

The NLI also lists a Martin Metzler, also in London circa 1800, but it is not known if he was related to Valentine's family.  We will overlook him for the moment at least.

Metzler Name and Address full list

Unfortunately, Metzlers didn't employ serial numbers, making it pretty hard to date any extant instruments.  Potentially useful might be this fuller listing of names and addresses:

Years Company Name Address
1788 Valentine Metzler Wardour St
1812-1815 V. Metzler 105 Wardour St
1816-1833 Metzler & Son "
1837 Metzler & Co "
1840-c1842 Geo. Metzler & Co "
c1842-1881 Metzler & Co 37 Great Marlborough St
1881-1893 " 42 Great Marlborough St
1893-1895 Metzler & Co., Ltd "
1895-1911 " 40-43 Great Marlborough St
1911-1920 " 42 Great Marlborough St
1920-1929 " 142 Charing Cross
1929-1932 " 14 Rathbone Place
1936 " 139 New Bond St.

Makers or Dealers?

There are a number of clues suggesting that perhaps the Metzlers were more likely to be dealers than makers:

  • An advertisement in 1839 offered a wide range of instruments: Bassoons, Serpents, Clarionets, Flutes, Drums, Horms, Trumpets, Trombones, and Bugles.  This seems a very wide range of instruments to come from one maker.

  •  I've also come across pianos with that name.

  • This might fit well with Valentine opening up a "music warehouse" back around 1800, and the later sale of the music plates. 

  • John Shaw, "farmer of Salop" patented a rotary valve which was built by Battee and sold by V. Metzler.

  • The initials A.L under keys of later flutes suggests they might have been made by Alexander Liddle, 1847-1879.

In many ways, discovering that Metzlers might have been only a dealership and not a maker doesn't detract from our interest in them.  They still had to make decisions about what to offer the public, and, given that they had a wider choice, those decisions might be particularly illuminating.


We have to thank the NLI for the background information on the family presented above.  The next step is to see if we can add to that information from other sources, such as the instruments themselves.

On to Some examples of Metzler flutes,

or Back to McGee-flutes Index page...

Created: 28/2/2012