to 1927; s/n 7xxx thru 29424)
There are three "subsets" of horns produced
during this period:
* Low B models. These models, functionally
and visually identical to earlier horns, were
available (probably) as the low-cost or "introductory" line.
Couesnon, Sax and other French-manufacturers also sold their low B horns
as low-cost models, so I'd say this was standard practice (pun intended.
SML revised this practice of selling
the older model along with the newer one in the 1940's with their Standard
model). HOWEVER, these horns may have been A=435hz horns (French standard
pitch) and discontinued "around" 1914 when the A=440hz (low
pitch) international standard was introduced.
* Non-patented models. These are essentially
an evolution of the earlier series of horns and have improved keywork
and extended keyed range (see below). They just don't have any of the
alternate keywork that the patented models have.
* Patented models.
Paul Evette and Ernest Schaeffer bought the Buffet-Crampon firm in 1885
and patented their first saxophone on July 25, 1887 (December
5, 1899 in the US). These horns are significantly different than
earlier models and are possibly the most technically advanced of any
French-made horn produced at the time, with the possible exception of
All horns had the following features:
- Updated engraving
featuring the Buffet-Crampon logo and the Evette & Schaeffer name.
The importer's name, generally either "Carl Fischer, New York"
or "HN White, Cleveland" (HN White, the manufacturer of
the King saxophones, imported these horns as their saxophone line
until approximately 1908) is only engraved on horns exported to other
- Double or "split" octave key. In approximately
1916 the automatic octave key became standardized (it was an "additional
cost" option before this). Low B models probably never gained
the automatic octave key.
- Roller keys. Most low B models do not sport this
- Horns available in both low pitch, A=440hz and high
pitch, A=457hz. See my comments regarding LP vs. HP instruments HERE.
- Some horns are engraved "Conn" to avoid import taxes into
the US. (Some Conns were engraved "Buffet"
to avoid export taxes to France, so I guess it all works out :)
All models except the Low B horns introduced the following:
- A keyed range that extends from low Bb to high F
on alto, C melody and Bb tenor. Keyed range extends to low Bb to high
Eb on soprano, baritone, bass and contrabass models.
- A front altissimo F key is available on Eb altos
and Bb tenors.
- C horns (melody tenor and soprano models) in approximately
1920. These horns are very uncommon, as France never had the
same fascination with C horns that the US did.
- Contrabass models around 1920. These were only custom
made and very few were produced -- it's theorized that somewhere between
six and 20 sitill exist. (Take a look at my SOTW article regarding
a performance that included one of the few surviving Evette &
- Baritone models that no longer had a fixed neck.
- Pearl keywork, in the mid 1920's. They don't appear
to be "standard fare" until the 1930's.
The patented horns introduced some interesting keywork
from regular contributor, SAXTEK)
Buffet soprano is an interesting horn. Notice two things: all
the right hand keys (D, E, F) can be held down with the third (D key)
finger alone, leaving the first and second fingers free to engage
alternate RIGHT HAND touchpieces for the low Bb and B. These right
hand levers are suspended above the E and F keys. A variation of this
key system was available later on Evette & Schaeffer saxes and called
the APOGEE system."
is a copy of an 1899 advertisement for these horns. I've made the text
a little more legible (you
can see the original HERE). It gives you a very good idea of what
the additional keywork is for. (See
also the Vintage Saxophones Revisited article by Prof. Paul
Cohen in the March/April 1994 Saxophone