"L. Pierret & Cie." started making horns in 1906, per the New Langwill Index.
They were a saxophone-only shop outside of Paris and made a
variety of stencils for Olds, Paul Beuscher, Santy Runyon and others.
Their chief designers appear to have been Henri & Roger Junck.
horns, particularly early models, are stamped (and I translate) “From
the former workers of Millereau and Besson”. This MAY indicate that
L. Pierret was formed from workers from these companies or was a wholly owned subsidiary or some such: we know, from the New Langwill Index, that Millereau was purchased by Selmer in 1931 (the correct spelling is in the PDF, if you want it) and that Besson was purchased by SML in the late 1940's, so it's not like Millereau or Besson "morphed" into Pierret.
stopped making horns around 1972. Some people have put forth the
suggestion that Pierret really stopped producing horns around 1963 --
which coincides with the last known Olds Parisian models -- and all
other instruments were serialized later and/or stamped with "Parisian
Ambassador". At the very least, Pierret's last patent was in 1971.
Pierret had at least two "lines" of saxophone at any one time:
"Standard" and ... something else. The "Something Else" usually had
additional keywork, such as the front altissimo F key and/or trill keys
(generally altissimo D# and G#), and a microtuner neck. This
construction paralleled Dolnet in that respect: you had the Bel Air
model with the basic keywork and then you had the Royal Jazz editions with the wild trill keys.
the real difference seems to have been that the "Standard" models were
not only considerably less expensive, according to the below 1952
catalog, but they were "junkier" -- if one can say that the Olds models
were "Standard" stencils (and I can't prove that, yet).
you get OLDER in the Pierret line, you also see instruments that have a
range only to low B. This is not necessarily an indication of
advanced age: it was a common practice among French (and German)
manufacturers. The low B
instruments were based on the A. Sax patents and were sold as
cheaper "introductory" saxophones. This practice ended in the
Allow me to also point out that Paul Beuscher and
others that stenciled Pierret horns did not ONLY stencil Pierrets.
There are, for instance, a LOT of Paul Beuschers that are Dolnets.
Additionally, the Olds Parisian Ambassador MAY have had some Beaugnier
models thrown in there: there are some with odd serial numbers, in the
form of 01-23456 or 123456, and I haven't seen pictures of these.
fun thing is that there are several individual variations of each horn.
There are at least two models of Super Artiste, for instance. The
things you need to look for are keyguards and keywork, particularly the
G# cluster. My opinion? The ones to really look for are labeled
"Artiste Competition" (or "Constellation") and that have a Buffet SuperDynaction-style G#
Finally, there's an EXCELLENT review of the Artiste Competition model HERE.
any interesting French company is mentioned, the first thing out of
someone's mouth is, "Were they made by Selmer?" The second is,
"Were they made by Buffet?" As with SML, there are some visual
similarities (especially with Buffet), but -- also as with SML -- there
are patents for Pierret. It's unlikely that a company that just
stencils saxophones would have saxophone patents.
Oh. Before someone e-mails me, there is a 1952 catalog
from a Swedish website that features the Pierret. The correct
translation is something like, "We also have Buffet saxophones
available in both silver and lacquer. If you want one, we can get
you one: they cost a little more." (I have a couple Swedish
friends and, if I ask nice, they might give me the exact translation.)
main annoying thing about Pierret is that their serial numbers seem to
mean squat. My opinion is that the serial numbers are
representative of each model, rather than a grand total. In other
words, a Pierret Modele 7 with a serial number of 7,000 is the 7,000th
Modele 7 made, NOT the 7,000th Pierret made. However,
the serial numberage may have changed to the traditional form in the
late 1940's -- i.e. post WWII -- when the Oxford was introduced, but starting with serial
number 1. In other words, I can accept that there were
approximately 50,000 Oxford and Artiste horns produced, especially when
factoring in the various versions of each and the large amount of
stencils of each, especially considering I've seen Super Artiste and
Oxford horns with very low serial numberage.
will want to know what the horns are equivalent to. Based on
design, close to Beaugnier (Leblanc). Based on keywork, close to
Buffet. Based on sound, probably Buffet.
No, I do not have a serial number chart. I can only assume that the horns were produced as follows:
* "Unlabeled" or stamped "Corps Embouti" (probably to about 1920)
* Modele 1-7 (probably discontinued in early to mid-1920's; possibly all were produced concurrently) * Vibrator (probably introduced in early to mid-1920's) * Virtuor (neck design patented in 1929)
* Concerto with Virtuor (that's the full model name; probably mid to late 1930's)
* Super 8 (late 1930's)
--> Probable WW II Hiatus <--
* Oxford (& Santy Runyon stencils -- that'd make these from the 1940's, prior to 1948's Conn Connstellation, or, according to Paul Coats, late 1950's, after the Connstellation. My opinion, because we know the below horns were from the 1950's, is that these were made from 1945 to 1948 or so)
* Super Artiste (probably produced alongside the below for awhile; post 1953 -- that's when the patent was issued) * Artiste Competition (&Olds stencils. Parisian Ambassador seems to be from about 1963 on)
I can speculate a bit further, too.
Couesnon had several lines of horns going at the same time, in the late 1890's and up until around 1937 -- I chronicle these on http://www.saxpics.com/couesnon/ noting the following "models" ...
Modele Monopole ("elaborately" engraved)
Opera (Series HN)
Armee (Series BN) or FourMsseursDeL'Armee
Armee (Series GNM)
National (Series BO)
Universel (Series CGO)
and Modele SO (or Series SO)
(... and some models may be unmarked)
You may wish to note how many models are above ....
Most or all of the above were available at the same time and had variations from just
engraving to missing keywork (with even low B models). I've seen a
Couesnon catalog from the early 1900's that had some of these models
advertised -- and with different prices for each.
It's easy to have a whole bunch of models when you're making each horn
by hand (and Pierret had some sort of patented device to help them make
horns -- patented about 1924).
This theory would adequately explain why the horns up to the
Vibrator/Virtuor look practically identical and I think it's possible
that the only real difference between the Vibrator/Virtuor and earlier
models is the neck. Someone's gonna have to whip out some calipers to
There are a number of Pierrets labeled "M. Poimboeuf" (see also the Super 8 ad, above). This gentleman -- full name's
Hippolyte Poimboeuf -- was the tenor saxophone player in Marcel Mule's sax quartet (with
René Chaliné on alto and
Georges Chauvet on baritone) and a colleague of his at
the Garde Républicaine in Paris. In other words, a very big-name classical player. Check out THIS and THIS for further info. (It helps if you can read French :).
Additionally, and as mentioned above, Santy Runyon commissioned the Oxford model to be used as a stencil for his stores in Texas. Check THIS for further info.
& Dhondt was also a French dealership in the 1920's. They were, in
some way, shape or form related to the Thibouville-Lamy folks (hey --
T-L owned most of the French music biz. Check THIS out).
C. Jeuffroy was a trade name from Noblet-Thibouville (there's that name
again and yes, that's the Noblet that's part of Leblanc). The earliest
mention I could find on the web of "C. Jeuffroy" was from 1880.
Freres was a former producer of instruments and went full into the
stenciling biz in about 1927, if I read my Google right.
main point of all this: these are really, really respected names. It
proves that Pierret isn't exactly a "toss it in the closet and forget
For Further Info & Thanks To ...
* Helen Kahlke. She's one of the first folks that asked me about Pierret and has a nice website with more Pierret pics.
Jean Monange. One day, I started just getting these e-mails from this
French person. Lots of Pierret stuff and other information on his website. (Again, helpful if you can read French.)
Galleries (clicking on a link or picture will take you to a
gallery with more pics)