The Symplex Saxophon—or Saxophone depending if you’re reading the product’s German stamp, or the English marketing materials—was another German-made blow accordion from the early part of the 20th century. Like so many others in this section of my site dealing with Sax Shaped Things, presumably these instruments were created in an attempt to cash in on the saxophone’s popularly in the the early part of the 20th century.
The one sold on Etsy was in lovely condition, and even came with its original box and instruction sheet. It is your standard 8 key blow accordion with 2 bass keys.
The seller on Etsy described the Symplex Saxophone like this:
Very Rare, Symplex-Saxophone/Blow Accordion, No. 3356, Early 1900’s, German Toy with 8 notes/keys plus 2 bass notes.
Complete with Original Box, instrument, Chain, and paper music. Item No. 3356
‘SYMPLEX-SAXOPHONE, The most popular instrument in the world, Best Tuning, Finest Reeds, Made in Germany, Registered’, is printed on the Box, plus the item number, No. 3356 on the end of box. Original tissue paper is still in the bottom of the box.
This Silver, Nickel Plated, 8-note version Sax (No. 3356) is very similar to a German blow accordion. The most obvious difference is in the style of the mouthpiece. There are felt tabs under each of the 10 notes/keys that are still all in tact. The Chain is removable.
The paper 4 page Music sheet is ‘New Tutor’, Made in Germany, Instructions for 8 Keys. It includes music for 12 songs. From Christmas songs to everyday songs.
The Box top is apart on 2 sides and a small V shaped cut on top and a tear on top, but overall box and color, etc is good for the age. The Music is in tact, but torn and soiled. See photos.
A 1930 catalogue mentions The Simplex Saxophone
Here is an catalogue page from the 1930, John E. Dallas & Sons Ltd.’s catalogue. Although spelled with an “i” instead of a “y”, it is quite possible that the Symplex Saxophone is listed as #2960.
Note the description and image both indicate that the Simplex Saxophone has 12 notes (keys), including the 2 bass keys. This is 2 more keys than the Symplex Saxophone illustrated on this page. Therefore, either the Simplex Saxophone is a different instrument altogether, or the Symplex Saxophone was available with varying key numbers.
The Symplex Saxophon that started it all
This is the first Symplex Saxophon I saw back around 2015, or so. It didn’t look nearly as pristine as the one on Etsy more recently. However, it did allow me to add another German blow accordion name to my list.
That said, I am not sure where the eBay seller below got their information from. There is no indication on the stamp attached to the horn that it originates in Markneukirchen. Nor am I seeing the serial #. And it certainly wasn’t made out of aluminum.
However, like the one on Etsy, it too has 8 keys as well as the 2 bass, or accompaniment, keys.
For what it’s worth, here is the seller’s description of their Symplex Saxophon on eBay:
1929 TOY SAXOPHONE ‘SYMPLEX SAXOPHON MADE IN GERMANY”
Instrument type: Toy saxophone
Model: Nr. 1832
Origin: Markneukirchen, Germany
Year: 1929 ? (1924 – 1929)
Made to look real- long neck chain (some rust)
15 inches long
Rare Rare Rare Collectors Item