Henry Distin • ”Baby” • Philadelphia • 1886
The photographs at left were recently commisioned by PocketCornets.com, and are reproduced here under special agreement with, and rights purchased from, the Herbert L. Clarke Music and Personal Papers, 1893-1943; Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They may not be reproduced or distributed in any way. Special thanks to LeAnn Splitter for her kind assistance.
19 year old Herbert Clarke was presented with this wonderful cornet by Henry Distin himself after winning a cornet competition. Clarke kept the instrument his entire life, until it went to the above-mentioned library.
Note the unusual oval-shaped bell. Later this was engraved with the presentation information on it’s bottom interior surface, which is visible in some of the photos. It reads:
IN THE CORNET CONTEST AT EVANSVILLE IND.
OCT. 11TH 1886
Clarke had a long-standing association with the Frank Holton company, which eventually resulted in Holton making copies of this design in the 1930’s. Subsequently the design was modified and went into limited production as the C150, which was only recently discontinued.