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Thread: Wurlitzer age help

  1. #1

    Wurlitzer age help

    I rescued this Rudolph Wurlitzer from neighbors’ moving out garbage about 25 years ago. I use it at TubaChristmas and that’s about it. Made some amateur fixes just to kinda play the horn. In years past I’ve scoured the internet to no avail on how to pinpoint the age of this instrument. Finally I found this forum and hope there’s some guidance available. The engraving says “The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co Cincinnati O. U.S.A. PROFESSIONAL “. I believe the valves are engraved “1,2,3”. Beyond that I don’t know where else to look for any identification.

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  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum! This is not a brand I have stumbled on before, but here is some info:

    Looks like it was made in the first couple decades of the 20th century, or MAYBE even earlier based on the look of it..

    This catalog shows similar instruments, marked "Professional", from the first decade of the 20th century:


    This link has more diverse info, but not much on the brass family:
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    Dave, thank you for responding. From the research I did in years past I thought 1914-1920 timeframe which coincides with that catalog image from the Cincinnati Library you sent (appreciated). But, I found a reference somewhere that there is a possibility it was made in the 1960’s also. Now that two of us are thinking early 20th century I’m leaning that direction.


  5. #5
    Does it play? How does it sound?
    Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium, Denis Wick 4AL
    Besson New Standard

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Nice horn. It definitely sounds like early 20th century production.

    I have a '30's Lyric radio by Wurlitzer.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Does it play? How does it sound?
    It does play. When I first rescued it I found some felt around the house and butchered a fix for the keys so they didn’t “klonk.” The main tuning slide barely moved and the spit valve was loose and missing cork. I attempted to cut from a wine cork and later resorted to replacing paper towel to absorb my drool. 😉

    I only play it annually at a TubaChristmas event so most of the poor sound is from operator error, though I’m sure I’m loosing tons of air to leaks. It is my last link to when I played almost daily in marching, pep, and concert band at University. I just don’t want to forget and loose any minor talent I had. Besides my kids are reaching the age of learning music.

    I’m going to clean up the tarnish (although I like the “Preservation Hall” character) and take it for repair and lacquer.

  8. #8
    You can get felts and corks on line if you're inclined. I think the key buttons also had felt under them. Getting the right sized felts will allow the pistons to be in proper alignment in both the up & down positions and will make it easier to play. It's possible that it's what's known as a "high pitch" instrument. For tuba Christmas, you might consider pulling the slides out as far as they will go to compensate. You can get a tuner app for your phone for free. Also, regarding corks: I have a 1/4" punch that I got at the hardware store. You can use it to punch a wine cork and make a decent cork for the spit valve. A little contact cement will hold it in.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    The Netherlands
    The visual style of the instrument certainly hints to the late 19th, early 20th century.
    The wikipedia article mr. Werden linked to mentions that the company moved "all Wurlitzer manufacturing" from Ohio to New York in 1909; as this instrument has "Cincinnati, O." stamped on it, I wonder if that means it was manufactured before that move?

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