Friday, October 3, 2014

From the Beginning -- the Earliest Powell Flutes

Flutists have many choices when it comes to Powell flutes today, but what about the very first Powell flutes?  If you have wondered what options were and models were available, we went into the archive to find out...

Looking through historical documents, we found a brochure from 1930.  At the time, Powell offered two models of C flutes with the following specs:

1 - the Handmade Louis Lot pattern with thin wall tubing, soldered tone holes, open or closed key cups, and open or closed G#
2 - the Commercial model with 0.18" heavy wall tubing, drawn tone holes, open or closed key cups, and open or closed G#

Handmade models came in silver, 14k gold, and platinum and had options that could be added as requested, such as French pointed arms and a left hand low B lever.  In the 1930s, the gizmo key was developed by Powell and added as an option as well.  From the beginning, all Powell flutes were pitched at A-440 unless ordered otherwise.  During the time period from 1930 to 1941, flutes pitched at A-442 were produced for leading players, including Bladet, Madsen, Pappoutsakis, and Opava.  In addition to the standard models, Powell did produce a few unique items in 1929: a bamboo flute, an octave piccolo, and a piccolo with a low C.

So, how much would one of the very first Powell flutes cost?  Well, in 1930, the Handmade silver models were $250 for the "French model" (open keys) and $240 for the "American model" (closed keys).The Commercial models were $200 for the French model and $185 for the American model.  In the photo below, you will see a price listing from the 1930 Powell brochure.

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