Let’s go back in time. To almost the very beginning, when Adophe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. This set of horns is from before the American Civil War. It took Mark Overton years to find them for his SaxQuest Museum in St. Louis. I had the great opportunity to return this family to its original grandeur.
Challenges abounded. Adolphe Sax saxophones are made from very thin brass that is incredibly brittle and difficult to work with. In fact, it was not uncommon for the factory to crack and patch horns during original manufacturing. Because the hinge tubes are made from rolled sheet stock, swedging requires the most careful adjustment to avoid splitting them. Pad cups are much more delicate than a modern or even vintage horn.
Not disturbing the intricate engraving on the bell while removing dents was really tough, but softening the typography was not an option. I had custom white leather pads made for each horn. And of course, each sax had over 150 years of oxidation that needed to vanish.
This remarkable, preserved family can be seen at the SaxQuest Museum. It’s definitely worth the visit.