Henry Distin was considered one of the finest instrument makers in the U.S. in the mid- to late 1800’s. Prior to establishing himself in New York and Philadelphia, he made brass instruments in London, and sold this business to Boosey and Co. (Later known as Boosey and Hawkes) in 1868.
He began manufacturing instruments in the United States around 1877, and went into business with J.W. Pepper who was also in the sheet music business. The serial number on this cornet (as well as the inscription ‘A Present from Father, T.A.M. Oct.13th ‘83 ) suggests that it was manufactured in Philadelphia c.1883.
This instrument follows the form of the typical “short” or “shepherd’s crook” cornet (referring to the shape of the instrument’s back bow) popular in Britain. It features elaborate workmanship and floral engravings, and is silver plated.
Henry Distin- Maker for J.W. Pepper
Phila. & New York
Inscribed: “A Present from Father/ T.A.M./ Oct. 13th 83”
#1346 on mid piston
engraved & tarnished silver