Pierre Louis Gautrot (Mirecourt 1882) became proprietor of
GUICHARD in 1845.
He had been already working for Guichard as his associate
beginning in 1835.
Gautrot was involved in the 1845 litigation against
By 1846, the company of over 200 employees claimed to be the
most important manufacturer of musical instruments in Europe.
In 1847, the
firm employed 208 workers (over 40% of the brass instrument workforce in Paris).
In the same year the company patented improvements to the horn, trumpet, and
He was the first European manufacturer to use mass production
techniques for instruments
Gautrot took advantage of the industrial
revolution and added steam power to his plant in 1849.
By 1850, he had
depots in London and by 1856 also in Madrid, Naples, and New York.
Gautrot had a plant in Château-Thierry as well, employed over 300 workers in
Paris, and was producing 20,000 band and stringed instruments annually.
company had a band consisting of thirty-six workers in 1857 (many companies had
such bands in the 19th) by then had a workshop producing string instruments in
Mirecourt and one producing woodwind instruments in La Couture Boussey.
Producing extremely desirable instruments, the company exported 70% of its
instruments in 1860.
In 1862, Gautrot was employing 700 workers and by 1867,
four plants were producing approximately 47,000 musical instruments a year
(24,000 of them valved brass instruments)!
In 1864, the company patented the
"système equitonique" (compensating valve system) in France and a year later in
It used valves with dual windways to act as a compensating system
After litigation involving Adolphe Sax from 1856 to 1859 for
alleged violation of Sax’s patents, Gautrot was ordered to pay 500,000 francs in
damages, and also ordered to mark his instruments with Sax’ name.
ignored the order and Sax appealed his case in the courts until 1867.
final outcome was not specified.
In 1870, the company employed over 600
workers in Paris and Château-Thierry.
In 1881, Gautrot bought Triebert .
In 1882, Amédée August COUESNON became the director of the firm and owner in
Among the many expositions at which Gautrot was represented were the
Paris Expositions in 1844, 1845, 1849, 1855, 1863, 1867, 1878, Toulouse in 1845,
and London in 1851, 1855, 1862, and 1882.
Early in the 19th century, great
changes in the method of manufacturing musical instruments took place in France.
Several concepts of the Industrial Revolution (which had its roots in
England) were incorporated into the manufacturing process.
One major change
took brass instrument manufacture out of the atelier into the factory, thus
allowing for mass production and lower prices.
Gautrot was one of the
principals using this new-found technique.
Guichard - as predecessor.
Auguste G.Guichard founded a musical
instrument manufacturing company bearing his name in 1827.
established a factory at Château-Thierry (Aisne), thus moving from a "cottage"
to a "factory" industry devoted to the manufacture of brass musical instruments.
Pierre-Louis Gautrot joined the firm in 1835.
In 1845, the name of the
company was changed from Guichard to Gautrot indicating at least a change in
At the time of change of name, the two artisans were
Gautrot - as maker-inventor.
The company names of Gautrot were altered
several times during his 39 years as an entrepeneur-maker-inventor allowing for
various degrees of influence.
Evidently he could work alone or in "tandem."
One early invention (1847) by Gautrot involved what was called an
"omnitonic" horn which added 12 crooks and quickchange valves to the natural
This idea was consolidated into a 3-valve "omnitonic" (1854), and
further developed into what may be called a predecessor of the modern double
In 1855, the company added woodwind and string instruments to
its line of products.
The sarrusophone dates from 1856 when it was patented
as a double-reed instrument, though it existed earlier.
A mouthpiece with a
single beating reed for this instrument was patented by Sax in 1866!
absorbed or became allied with several other musical instrument makers as time
He added Tulou flutes in 1857.
Jean-Louis Tulou (1786-1865) was
not only a flute-maker, but served as a professor of flute at the Conservatoire
in Paris (1829-1856) and was in all probability the last well-known flutist to
be against the Boehm flute.
The company name became Gautrot aine et cie. in
Though I cannot pinpoint when "et cie. " was not part of the company
name, several references do exist.
Also, Gautrot Marquet (ca. 1863) and
Gautrot, durand et cie. (ca. 1878) were two affiliations noted in passing.
During the existence of Gautrot aîne et a cie (1870-1883), one purchase was
made which amazed me.
Frédéric Triébert Fils (1813-1878) died and left his
company, including a factory in Paris, to Mme. C. Dehais who immediately sold it
to Felix Paris who later sold it to Gautrot (1881).
This is the Triébert
company where François Lorée worked / supervised before starting his own
In 1883, Gautrot added the name of Couesnon to his company
name, making it Couesnon, Gautrot et cie.
Amédée Couesnon was Gautrot's
son-in law at the time.
Couesnon had an extremely long life, being born in
1850, and dying in 1951.
Couesnon - as successor.
The name of Gautrot was deleted from the company
name in 1888, thereby ending the influence of Gautrot.
The changes in
Couesnon et cie. until its demise well into the, twentieth century (1967) are
beyond the scope of this study.
Adolphe Sax, born Antoine-Joseph, produced
the first saxophone in about 1843: a C bass in the shape of an ophicleide.
These "prototype" saxophones made in this curved style are vanishingly rare
(there may be only four left, worldwide).
The soprano, alto and tenor were
traditionally shaped and were produced slightly later.
The bari and bass
didn't change to their "normal" shape until around 1846 -- the original patent
date for Sax's horns and when saxophones started to be mass produced.
1866, Sax's patent expired (renewed in 1881) and there was a kind of
"free-for-all" in the saxophone world.
The first real "challenge" to the
saxophone, the sarrusophone appeared around this time.
The inventor of
which, Gautrot, was sued many times by Antoine-Joseph because of the
similarities (especially in fingering) between the two instruments.
some of these legal battles and won others.
Antoine-Joseph died in 1894 and
his son, Adolphe-Edward, took over the company (although some evidence suggests
he took over in 1885).
He produced a few horns and then sold the company to
Selmer around 1928.
Selmer produced horns with the Adolphe Sax label and
style until (probably) 1935 and are known as very good playing horns, having
similar playing characteristics to the Super models.
are beautiful works of art that cry out to be played, but they are extremely
limited: the keyed range is only up to high Eb, there is no Bb bis key, there is
no fork F#, there may not be a side C, the G# is not articulated and there
aren't rollers on the RH C and Eb or the LH G#, C#, B cluster keys.
baritone and bass also had interestingly placed vents for the low B key placed
so you could easily knock your right hand into it when playing.
Finally, just to make things more interesting, Antoine-Joseph's horns
featured up to four octave keys (though most had two), no Bb and even some of
Adolphe-Edwards horns only go down to low B.
I can say that even though
these horns have limitations in keywork, they sound wonderful: clean, tight and
airy reflecting the horn's roots in Antoine-Joseph's bass clarinet experiments.
It's a sound that went away completely after about 1940 and the original
There are a couple of interesting things about the Sax
horn that I've found:
- There were altos produced in F
- There may have
been straight altos and low A altos
- Gold plated horns were generally
produced for "trade shows" (Paris Expositions)
- Feb. 1, 1859 marks the date
that pitch was standardized at A=435hz in France
- Horns produced before
this were essentially "custom made" to match the pitch that your ensemble used!