Ophicleide in C

Catalogue number: 8.1

Original name: Ophicleide in C.

Type or system: 11 keys.

Maker: Antoine Courtois.

Place of origin: Paris, c.1870.

Overall size: 1024mm.

Sounding length: 2440mm.

Diameter of mouthpiece receiver: 13.4mm.

Technical description: Ophicleide in brass. 11 brass keys mounted on posts and axles.

Mouthpiece receiver (a little old-fashioned for the time, being round rather than more rectangular) may not be original, as it looks like it has widened to accommodate a modern mouthpiece. It does not work with a known French Ophicleide mouthpiece.

Keys 4 and 5 are linked. Keys 9 and 10 have key guards, indicating possibly military use.

Key work and finger holes

Left hand thumb:


Left hand, first finger:

B (open = C).

Left hand, second finger:

C sharp.

Left hand, third finger:

E flat.

Right hand thumb:


Right hand, first finger:

B flat.

Right hand, second finger:


Right hand, third finger:

G sharp overlapping G.

Right hand, fourth finger:


Inscription: Engraved on Bell: (motif: medal: MÉDAILLE / DE / 1RE CLASSE / EXPOSITION / UNIVERSELLE / 1855) / ANTOINE COURTOIS / FACTEUR DU CONSERVATOIRE IMPÉRIAL / 88 rue des Marais St. Martin / Paris / S. ARTHUR CHAPPELL / LATE JULLIEN & Co / Sole agents / 214 Regent St. London”.

Faults: Crack in mouthpiece receiver - leaking air. Leaking pads.

Repair history: Restored 1979 by Jones & Crossland, Birmingham.

Usable pitch: Plays at a’ = 440 Hz.

Illustration references: See below.

Previous collection numbers: A and B: Item 98.

Gallery of Images