One of the most popular sections of my website is the Sax-Shaped “Things” portion, which features everything from simple plastic children’s toys to high-tech wind controllers. The toys and instruments featured in that section of Bassic Sax span nearly a century of our instrument’s history.
I regularly get emails from the owners of vintage or antique saxophone-shaped musical instruments and toys asking about their history. Sadly, for most of these instruments and toys the history is long forgotten, and often very little is known.
A few days ago I decided to dig through some of the numerous digital versions of catalogues that were sent to me from a fellow in Europe. Low and behold I found some very interesting pages in a 1930 Jedson & Mastertone catalogue.
For your research and viewing pleasure I now offer up the following vintage sax-shaped “things”, just as they were originally listed. (Please note that the prices are in British pound sterling.)
Sax-Shaped “Things” as the were listed in a 1930 catalogue
The Weiss Fluta – A blow accordion that looks like a Hohner Organette
The Weiss Fluta (# 2712) looks pretty much identical to the Hohner Organette. Based on the spelling, Weiss Fluta, I’m guessing that this instrument is also from Germany.
John E. Dallas & Sons Ltd.’s catalogue spelling error aside (there was no “e” at the end of Jazzophon), Calura’s saxophone-shaped kazoo must not have sold all that well. To date I have only come across one for sale on eBay.
What’s worth noting on this and the following page is that Swanee—the makers of the famous slide sax—also made a number of other instruments and toys. Unfortunately not all of them are illustrated.
The Swanee Slide Sax and a bunch more Swanee Stuff
BTW, notice the price of the Model A Swanee Sax. According to this UK Govt. website, the £2 10s 0d from 1930, would be worth £83.55 in 2005. My, how these little gems have appreciated. They regularly sell upwards of £400 on eBay.
Although the John E. Dallas & Sons Ltd.’s catalogue lists the Saxie and the Saxette as the same instrument, to my knowledge they were always made by different companies. While the Saxie was made by the French company Couesnon, the Saxette was the brainchild of music teacher Elver Joseph Fitchhorn, who had the instrument manufactured through the Saxette Company in his native Delaware, OH.
The information on No. 7651 was found on page 74 of the catalogue. It is as follows:
“Strauss” Sax-mouth Organ, 28 reeds, with nickelled [sic] Saxophone attachment .. .. dozen £2 4 0
I have not seen any of these Struass harmonicas for sale, but this La Traviata and this Radio harp have appeared for sale in the past few years. The story about the saxophone-shaped bells can be found on the Radio harp page.
Lots and lots of toy sax-shaped “things”
This four-valved, sax-shaped toy (No. 7914) is described in the page below…
The valved-instruments shown in the two pages above, are perhaps those which I get the most requests for information about. I have quite a few of these on my website already (check out the Toys with Valves on this page), and many more in my photo archives that I just have to find time to write about—including the Simplex Saxophone. BTW, I’m sure the Simplex Saxophone, which is actually a blow accordion, looks like the Hohner Sax by design, and not by fluke.
Since I have not yet had a chance to create a page on the Simplex Saxophone, here are some pics of the instrument…
With regards to blow accordions, the early part of the 20th century was littered with them. Sax-shaped blow accordions seem to have been all the rage. The silvered wood 8-note version shown above (No. 2958) is very similar to this German blow accordion that appeared on eBay. The most obvious difference is in the style of the mouthpiece.
To see more of the blow accordions that I have collected images of, check out the Blow Accordion portion of Sax-Shaped “Things”.
In conclusion then…
I hope that these pages are helpful to those of you looking for a bit more information about the instruments and/or toys illustrated or listed above.
If you have any of the items listed above and would like to share images of them through my website, or even have information to share, please contact me. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
If you’re looking for more images on sax-shaped “things”, make sure you check out my website. I’m currently working on a number of new pages for this section, and hope to have them up in the coming weeks.