August 1, 1860 -- Sax is granted a patent extension set to expire on May 11, 1866. The bill was signed by Napolean III.
August 10, 1866 -- Millereau and Company receives a patent for several improvements. They cite better finger positions which make the saxophone easier to play, and a system of rods which make the instrument less noisy. The instruments described has two separate octave keys and an alternate low C# key.
March 1, 1868 -- Gautrot received a patent for improvements which concerned interior bore dimensions, placement of tone holes, a newly designed screw-in pad, and a modified key placement system.
December 9, 1875 -- Pierre Goumas and Company adopted the Boehm system clarinet fingerings to the left-hand saxophone mechanism adopting an extra LH thumb key which made it possible to play C2 - C#2 in the same manner that the clarinetist plays f-f#.
September 20, 1878 -- Goumas added to his original patent, revising the C#2 connecting mechanism.
September 13, 1879 -- Goumas again changes the mechanism for C#2. This patent describes two LH thumb keys which closed two holes simultaneously. I believe this describes the mechanism seen on many soprano saxophones for the same notes.
January 12, 1880 -- Goumas receives his last patent for the C#2 mechanism. This patent describes a RH side key which is used to play the C#. The key was in the position of today's side C key.
January 16, 1881 -- Adolphe Sax receives a patent for improvements to the saxophones adding the following features:
August 9, 1886 -- L'Association générale de ouvriers en instruments musique recieved a patent which allowed Bb to be played with 1+1, 1+2, or 1+3. Also a front Bb akin to the front Eb on the clarinet, a front F similar in function the the clarinet's front Bb (Chalumeau register) and a side C key were added. The first finger on the LH had a half-hole mechanism which served as the small B - G1 octave key, and the middle finger on the RH had a half-hole mechanism for D3 and D#3. The RH little finger had keys for Eb, C, and C# while the LH little finger had a key for C# which did not require the addition of the RH C key to play low C#.
January 2, 1887 -- L'Association augmented their original patent adding a RH G# key which permitted F#-G# and G#-A trills. (At this point the other saxophones apparently did not have the modern mechanism which permits the F#-G# trill by closing the G# key when any of the RH keys are depressed.) Also, the high F palm key opened all of the palm keys simultaneously so that it was only necessary to depress one key to get F3. A moveable metal tuning sleeve was added to the mouthpiece.
July 25, 1887 -- The Evette & Schaeffer Society patented a saxophone which added the following modern mechanisms:
March 11, 1888 -- Guichard, Gautrot, and Triebert had united their companies into one called Coueson in 1887. Coueson recieved a patent which had a mechanism which allowed the F and F# keys to close the G# key. The low Bb key alone was necessary to produce the low Bb. (Apparently the RH C key was depressed automatically.) An Eb key was added to the LH little finger keys. A RH G# key allowed G-G# trills. There are still two separate octave keys, and the range of this saxophone was B to F3.
January 9, 1888 -- The Millereau-Mayeur System was patented. This saxophone had a LH little finger and RH thumb key for low Bb.
November 4, 1888 -- Lecomte received a patent which used the Boehm principle fingerings and finally united the octave keys into one automatic mechanism.
December 4, 1928 -- Chiron & Company received a patent for improvements to the palm key mechanism which permitted the saxophonist to depress only one palm key to produce the high D3-F3. Each palm key opened all of the keys lower than the hole for its note. (ie. D# opened the D key as well, etc.)
This information was gleaned from Frederick Hemke's dissertation on The Early History of the Saxophone.
Return to Cliff Leaman's Homepage