Thibouville Masson Harmonie
My first hobby project by Thibouville is one from the very end of this long line, probably made in 1957-59. It is marked Thibouville Freres, M Masson, Paris, Harmonie.
It is somewhat unusual for French “stencil” clarinets to have all the pieces marked, especially the mouthpiece.
This indicates to me that Maurice Masson was hoping that this clarinet would help boost the company name.
This mouthpiece happens to be very good, and I suspect it is based on a Chedeville blank.
From insure2020 at woodwind.org:
Martin Denis’s other son, Eugène (b 1832; d Ivry-la-Bataille, 1891), established his own firm by 1855 in Paris; by 1862 it was located in Ivry-la-Bataille as ‘Noblet & Thibouville’. This was succeeded in 1886 or 1887 by ‘Eugène Thibouville et fils’, the two sons being Adrien (b Ivry-la-Bataille, 1855) and Camille (b Ivry-la-Bataille, 1864). By 1890 it was called ‘les fils d’Eugène Thibouville’ and in 1909 ‘Thibouville frères’, which continued, after 1910, under the management of Adrien’s younger son George (b Ivry-la-Bataille, 1886; d Ivry-la-Bataille, 1957), passing in 1957 to Maurice Masson. The woodwind instruments made by Thibouville frères could also be stamped on request with the mark of any of 18 different clients.
For early Thibouville history from The New Langwill Index, see the bottom of this page.
See the Vintage/Odd Brand home page for more about French “stencil” clarinet makers. Anyone out there with information, please write to me.
This clarinet shows signs of being made as a high quality intermediate instrument.
- Every single piece is marked as above. Only the left hand keyed joint includes the word “Harmonie.”
- Even the mouthpiece is marked as above, except dropping “Paris, Harmonie.” And the mouthpiece is WONDERFUL. It seems to be a bit more open than my Hite D mouthpiece, and has a nice clear, centered, full tone.
- The key work is absolutely first rate. The keys are very Buffet-like, including the left pinkie keys that fit in holes. One nice extra is that all the rings are wider than normal, giving the instrument a very comfortable feel.
Serial: MH 622. There is a free-hand “Bar V” engraving under the keys of both keyed joints.
Pads: The generic pad sizes work well for this. 9.5mm for most of the upper joint.
This Thibouville Masson is frightfully sharp in the top register using the original barrel. The sharpness in the lower register is typical of medium range clarinets.
One should remember to pull out at least 2mm. I was getting better results with pulling 3mm, but then it is important to use barrel rings so that the throat tones don't get too flat.
This will make a good horn for a beginning student. Intermediate to advanced students will want a standard 66mm barrel. These are cheap and easy to come by. Then intonation will be about like a Selmer Signet.
The keyed joints have the original technician's mark, Bar V. And the number 143.
I really like the comfortable feel that the extra wide rings gives.
The keys are Buffet-style throughout.
The only exception to this is the extra heavy rings.
Notice that the left pinkie keys are the peg in hole style.
From a post by Mark Charette at woodwind.org:
From The New Langwill Index:
Thibouville-Lamy, Jerome WWI fl Paris
Established by Louis Émile Jérome Thibouville (b Mouettes / La Couture 1 February 1833; d 1902), son of the MI maker Louis Martin Thibouville (b 1807) and Marie Josephine neé Grandin, who by c1857 joined the firm of HUSSON-BUTHOD, by c1857 renamed HUSSON-BUTHOD & THIBOUVILLE, later becoming its proprietor; 1861 opened factory at Grenelle-Paris for BIs; 1864 acquired there also the firm of Henry Savaresse making Sl strings; 1866 registered his trade mark; 1867 advertised factories at Grenelle for BIs, SI strings, organs, at Mirecourt for SIs, and at La Couture for WWIs; 1878, according to advertisement, he employed a total workforce of 420 at four factories, including 125 at Mirecourt, 40 to 45 at La Couture, 80 at Grenelle (BIs), 140 at Grenelle (SI strings), plus an atelier for making organs and musical automats (musical box, 'pianista'), sending all instruments to the 'atelier de Paris' for finishing; 1880 opened branch in London; 1885 advertised workforce of 'environ 1000 ouvriers, ouvriés et employé. He was decorated in 1873 with the order of Franz Josef, in 1876 with the Légion d'honneur. 1889 his son Louis Jéerome Émile partnered with Alexandre Alfred Acoulon; 1896-1908 Acoulon proprietor. c1895 opened agency in New York, registering 1900 their trade name in US; 1926, according to their catalogue: 'electric power factories employing 1000 workmen at Grenelle, Paris, La Couture, Mirecourt, Poussay and Chateau Thierry'; also that, regarding saxophone, 'we can, according to the wishes of our customers, mark the instruments with our name or one of our registered marks, or even with one of the following names, of which we are the proprietors: 'Association Generale des Ouvriers 68 bis rue Reaumer [sic] Paris, Feuillet, Martin Thibouville Fils, Bercioux'. Trade name 'Jetel', from J.T.L. initials employed. See also BUTHOD & THIBOUVILLE, FRANQUIN, VERCRUYSSE & DHONDT.
Two pictures from an auction, serial #A549.Notice the cursive Artiste mark. MARK: [ a: registered in 1866 ] (lyre in auriole) / J.T.L. [ b: registered in 1888 ] DULCIS & FORTIS (lyre in auriole, bird in horn superimposed)/ J.T.L. [ c: LEGION D'HONNEUR / JTL (within wreath) / Qualité Supre. (cursive) / (7 medals) / JEROME / THIBOUVILLE / LAMY / Fr. de l'Armé(cursive) / BREVETÉ S.G.D.G. / 68 R. Réaumur (cursive) / PARIS ADDRESS: 1867-70: 42bis rue Réamur 1875-95: 68 et 70 rue Réamur 1900: rue Réamur 68 et 68bis 1905: rue Réamur 68bis et 2 1911: rue Réamur;69bis et 70.
c1935: Jetel-Sax (model of tarogato in metal)
[according to Haine, over 20 'brevets et certificats d'addition']
1874 (F) #104550: corrective keys for BIs
1902 (F) #326145: improved Boehm-flute
Paris 1867, 1875;
Santiago / Chile 1875
Exposition Universelle International de 1889 Paris Rapports du Jury international. Classe 13. Insts. de musique (Paris 1891)
Exposition internationale de Chicago en 1893: insts. de musique: rapport (Paris 1894)
J.T.L.: Jerome Thibouville-Lamy & Co., Manufacturers of Musical Instruments and Harmonic Strings (London 1926)