Buffet-Powell Models
(1930 to 1939; s/n 30xxx thru 35xxx)


These horns were completely designed and patented by Edward V. Powell, son of Verne Powell (the founder of the Powell flute company) and are absolutely glorious pieces of craftsmanship.

I arrived at a date range for these horns by extending the serial number charts into the "serial number black hole". At the very least, I can say that these horns definitely came before the next models, because:

- LH bell-keyed horns are less advanced than RH bell key horns and all manufacturers I've ever seen produced RH bell-keyed horns after their LH bell key-keyed versions, if they had them at all.
- The engraving is more reminiscient of the Evette & Schaeffer System horns than the "SA" models.
- The patents for this horn tend to support the date range I've assigned to these horns.
- According to a letter in Paul Cohen's Vintage Saxophones Revisited column in the Nov./Dec. 1990 Saxophone Journal magazine, Buffet stopped using this patent right before WWII and summarily sold it to Conn.

I have no exact idea when the production on these models stopped. I'm just assuming that they were produced up until the next Buffet model, which has RH bell keys. I can say that they only appear to have been produced in alto and tenor pitches: definitely not bass, based on the above article and the existence of basses using earlier tooling, but there may be a soprano hiding out there somewhere. .

More comments from SAKTEK:
"[These models have] four octave key vents -- two on the sides of the neck, if you look carefully [and two on the body]. I fixed a tenor like this once for a penniless guitar playing friend. It had 60 year old pads, and he had no money so I kind of got it back together like a student model horn -- and it played! That's the sign that the dimensions of the design are good, because there were still a lot of leaks."

This mechanism looks so much like the new Selmer Harmonic models, one wonders if Selmer copied the design from Buffet.


Techie Notes:
- An example of the engraving.
- Keyed range from low Bb to high F.
- Silver keytouches, reminiscient of the Conn Connqueror models.
- LH bell keys, also reminiscient of the Conns.
- Keywork is hinged only on one side. This may be to increase speed/response.
- Reinforced keywork.
- There may have been a couple of models of these horns: the examples I have listed here have different chromatic F# keys and slightly different keywork.

If you get a chance, please look through the patent drawings listed at the right. They give you a better understanding at how complex a horn this is -- even though one of the patents mentions that they're trying to "simplify" saxophone keywork design!

This horn: s/n 3246x tenor.  From eBay.


This horn: s/n 69xBb soprano.  From eBay.





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