In a previous article, we
looked at what information we could find on the Metzler family. In
this article, we'll look at some of the instruments that bear their
name. I've scouted around to try to bring out the range of
instruments with which they were associated.
A boxwood 1-key
This flute sold by
Treasures. They ascribed it to Valentine Metzler, circa 1820, and
described it as: A good original 1 keyed stained boxwood flute stamped
on all 4 joints: Metzler London. Loose brass key (maybe added later).
Measurements: - total length 602 mm - middle of the embouchure to the
end 535 mm.
A three-headed Metzler
This flute is in the
DCM collection at the Library of
Congress, Washington DC. It's originally a block-mounted 6-key,
with the Long C and Long F keys added later. The three heads are
marked 3, 4 and 5, a throwback to the old system of corps de rechange.
The flute is marked METZLER / LONDON. The design has a lot in
common with the Monzani flute of the same time. Compare it to the
Before Rose met Rudall.
If the DCM collection
is correct in their estimated date, c1825, then we are now in the middle
of the "Metzler & Son" era (1816-1833). But the mark continues as
Early small hole 8-key
This one for sale at the time of writing by
Instruments. They list it as:
ebony with 8 block mounted silver saltspoon keys and wide silver rings,
no missing or replaced keys, blocks or rings, fully lined head, 2 cracks
each in the head joint and tuning barrel but not through the embouchure,
one small crack at the top of the middle body joint, end cap probably
not original, sounding length 583mm.
Note the very
unusual shaft on the Long F key. That should be easy to identify
if it's the work of another maker!
This flute came up recently on Ebay in Australia - I
made a stab for it and missed. What interested me was the key-work
and general style, which I think puts it after the 1825 instrument shown
and before anything below. The flute was stamped Metzler / London
/ 105 Wardour St. That address dates it between 1812 and 1842, but
I think we can get closer than that. I'd regard it as an Improved
era flute, so probably post 1830.
I've taken the foot to show you, as it has the best view of the keys. The web images
were pretty murky, so I've had to do quite some manipulations to bring
out the detail below. The little steps in the keys just below the
touches is a feature of all the keys.
My thanks to Jem Hammond for alerting me to the auction pertaining to
A boxwood 4-key
Also sold by: Music
Treasures. A good all original 4 keyed ivory mounted boxwood
flute in very good condition stamped on all four joints: Metzler & Co.
London, also stamped on the headjoint: 37 Great Marlborough St., which dates
the flute 1842-47. Boxwood, ivory rings and headcap in good condition, 4 brass keys.
Overall length 598 mm; Speaking length 529 mm.
Note that the
name on the head is curved, while those on the other sections are set
out in straight lines. Presumably that is achieved with two
Note also that we seemed to have jumped
directly from "Metzler" to "Metzler & Co", without passing through
"Metzler & Son".
An 8-key with engraved rings
Marked Metzler & Co, London.
Keys marked A.L
This is my own Metzler, and features hand graved silver
rings. C#-D# length 251.5, sounding length 577mm
A typical later Metzler 8-key
This seems to be a very typical form of flute with the
Metzler mark. One like this, sent to me for repairs, had a C#-D#
length of 246mm and a sounding length of 574mm. Others have been
reported with C#-D# lengths of 249mm or 251.5mm, the same as mine above.
The A.L mark
appears under the keys. The mark is Metzler & Co / London.
A subtle and maybe insignificant detail is that the mark was straight,
while others I have seen had the name in a curve.
A Left-handed F band flute
Currently available for sale at
left-handed band flute in F.
A Metzler Siccama
Abel Siccama released his 10-key design in 1847. As it was part
of his patent, it presumably enjoyed protection for the customary 14
years or so. That suggests this flute is likely to be post 1861.
Note the mixed blocks and posts.
(Image provided by Graeme Roxburgh. Note the cap is a modern
replacement in another wood)
A fully keyed Metzler Siccama
Currently on sale on Ebay, this fully keyed Siccama
style flute has an overall length of 650mm and a sounding length 575mm.
Notice the change in styling evident in these Siccama style instruments
when compared with the earlier 8-keys:
the wide bands have given away to narrow rings
reminiscent of Siccama and Pratten instruments
the foot terminates in a curve beyond the ring,
while the earlier ones terminated at the band
the tenons now sport cork and tenon rings, while the
earlier tenons were bare and thread-wrapped
the timber is now natural-coloured rather than
the long F key has taken on the deeper construction
seen on later flutes
Metzler & Co, Limtd.
Westwind, on the Chiff & Fipple list, reports a flute
marked METZLER & CO LIMTD, LONDON, which confirms for us that the final
form of the company name did make it onto flutes. That puts the
flute at sometime after 1893. We're still wondering about "Metzler
We are certainly seeing a wide range of flute styles,
probably supporting the notion that Metzlers were dealers rather than
makers. But we might be just scratching the surface. If you
have a dramatically different Metzler to any of the above, do feel free
to send it for inclusion in this survey.
Back to McGee-flutes
Created: 7 March 2012