Metzler Flutes




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 Music 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 instruments at 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 Metzler.


Early small hole 8-key

This one for sale at the time of writing by Vintage Instruments.  They list it as:

METZLER, c.1825, 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 above, 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 the flute.

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 separate stamps.

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 WildWinds, a 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 dark-stained

  • 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 & Son".


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.

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  Created:  7 March 2012