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Clarinet Roadshow => All about Clarinets => Topic started by: Silversorcerer on August 14, 2015, 01:43:07 PM

Title: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 14, 2015, 01:43:07 PM
Just a few weeks ago, one of the first definitive pieces of information appeared that offerred certain insight into the actual dates that correspond to PM serial numbers. We had a sales receipt of #9934 in June 1927 appear with a listing for that clarinet at auction. See this thread:

 http://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php?topic=835.0 (http://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php?topic=835.0)

I have been studiously compiling a serial chart for instruments as they come along with photos and also any anecdotal information that sellers offer that indicates dates used or played.
Today I stumbled on another definitive document that has some confusing elements, but also adds some insight into the model designation letters, which might have been part of the serial in the company records even if the letter was not stamped on the instrument. This about the only way I can reconcile this document with the other evidence accumulating.

In any case, here it is, albeit with no accompanying clarinet photos to explain what are confusions in the serial sequence. It is the 20 year (amazing all by itself!) warranty document for instrument H-12372 dated November 10th, 1937. I now appears to me that the letter prefixes were used on the paper records early on, but were not applied to the same models until later. It would be obvious which model the clarinet was if the model name, for instance "Empire" in this case were marked on the clarinet, but perhaps on paper records that serial was given an H prefix as a type of shorthand? This would make some sense as it is difficult to reconcile the 1937 date with other lower numbered serials that have letter prefixes that are both war era clarinets and that have anecdotal evidence of use that would place them out of sequence.

Make of it what you will, it's the 2nd best document time marker that I aware of for Penzel Mueller. Also included in the listing are a photo of the oiling instructions (which haven't changed since much earlier!) and also the price lists of various accessories and the retail price of the Empire instrument that was warrantied.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 14, 2015, 02:27:14 PM
I am presenting this as a preliminary serial summary list and included in it are some descriptions of early instruments with no serialization. Not included are other instruments such as flutes or metal clarinets. Feel free to copy and paste into this sequence, but be attentive to plausible insertions and note any anecdotal information. As noted in the list, these are instruments that are known to exist from either ownership or photographs. Hypothetical instruments are not to be added. We know there will be gaps, but please insert only the information for actual known and documented clarinets. I have highlighted in red the information that comes from date certain documents and highlighted useful anecdotal information in blue. Significant events are in green whether the date is known for certain or not. Note the change in serial format imprint on the instruments. I am now favoring the hypothesis that a serial imprint ending in a "B" on an instrument designates the second serial series? That serial break apparently occurs in the late 30s? As usual, more information will settle these questions. It is a shame we have no photos of the instrument that the 1937 warranty goes with. There is no B in the serial, but the H prefix seems anomalous. It may not appear on the instrument itself.  In parenthesis I noted instruments in my current collection.


General Timeline of the G. Penzel / Penzel Mueller Company serials sequence and design features:

1892 Founded by G Penzel  0-?

G.L. Penzel & Bro. C clarinet early ?

1899 P&M partnership

? P&M, Prufer partnership ?

Penzel Mueller Pruefer # 3795 LP B (straight lever register key, French ligature & cap)

Penzel Mueller Pruefer # 4036 A LP (front register key)

? P&M - Prufer separation. ?

Known PM clarinets / serials:

Known clarinets / serials:

No serial Penzel Mueller B (HP) No Serial german sys 6 ring

339 PM 7-ring Boehm (rollers on spatulas, Eb lever for L5) (collection of G. Kern)

3795 PM LP B

4743 PM LP B USN (reviewed on Clarinet Pages - Therese K)

5175 PM LP B Albert

5366 PM Studio Recording model, New York, Toronto, Paris (appears to be later model, serial location bottom UJ, top LJ, separate G#/A posts) (collection reedalanb)

5393 PM USN 5-ring Albert

5746 PM LP E Albert

5845 PM Bel Canto Eb

6411 PM LP Eb Artiste

6631 Penzel Mueller LP B 6631 spiral register

6839 Penzel Mueller LP A full Boehm articulated C# (restored by Dave LeBlanc)

6998 Penzel Mueller LP B Full Boehm/artic with LH5 Ab

7727 Penzel Mueller LP B 6-ing (bakelite bell, front register key)

7769 Penzel Mueller LP B 7769 has spiral register, (collection Silversorcerer)

(Register key moves from front to back)

8270 Penzel Mueller LP A (Phil Pedler)

8458 Penzel Mueller LP B (straight lever register key, bakelite bell broken) traveling with Pan American bell now

8739 Penzel Mueller LP B 5-ring Albert

8855 Penzel Mueller LP B (My father had this before taking up the oboe when in H. S band.  He was born  1911 so this should date before 1928.)

9250 Penzel Mueller LP B 9250 has straight lever register key (still mark LP Bb) (collection Silversorcerer)

9544 Penzel Mueller LP A (traveling with Buffet barrel and Barbier bell)

#9934 June 1927 Sale's receipt for #9934 Penzel Mueller LP B Albert #5

Penzel Mueller LP Bb 10973

PM Full Boehm # 11111

PM Artist # 1xxx1 "A" articulated C#/G#

Penzel Mueller # 11601

Penzel Mueller (H) # 12372 warranty H-12372  Model # 225W 11/10/1937 (No clarinet photos available, warranty only.)

Penzel Mueller Empire State # H-12835 [Taken with the warranty above and the close serial numbers, this instrument must be 1937-1940]

Penzel Mueller LPB USQMC Albert #5 #12543

PM Artist # 13919

PM Artist # 14280 (collection Silversorcerer)

PM Artist # 14386 (articulated C#/G#)

PM Artist # 15082 (7-ring articulated C#/G#) (There is evidence that this clarinet had an auxiliary Ab key between the left hand Low E and F# keys but it has since been removed and discarded by a previous owner)

PM Artist # 15448

PM Artist # 15547

PM Artist # 15586

PM #15601

PM Artist A  # 15607

PM Artist # 16216 (articulated C#/G#)

PM Artist # 17205

Serial Format changes (?)

Penzel Mueller Artist #L103B

Penzel Mueller Empire # H127B (collection Silversorcerer) (silver plated keys, wood bell)

PM G. Penzel Professional # U237B

Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R446B

Penzel Mueller Empire # H924B

Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R964B

Penzel Mueller Empire # H1052B (teardrop keys, traveling with Artist Bell)

US PM Artist # L1085B

PM Artist # L1104B

PM Bel Canto # R1230B

PM Empire # H1318B (German silver keys, wood bell)

PM Empire # H1360B (German silver keys, wood bell)

PM Artist # L1706B

USN Artist # M1719B (pre-Brilliante Artist gets M designation then L?)

PM Empire H2198B (not tear shaped keys)

(G.Penzel) Trailblazer # U2265B , also with a second serial on both joints;- 7/573. This clarinet is a dead match for an Italian Pastore clarinet plausibly made by Rampone. (collection Silversorcerer)

PM Artist # M2312B

(G. Penzel) Pacemaker # Vr3247B

PM Brilliante # M3361B (collection Silversorcerer)

PM Brilliante # M3417B

PM Brilliante # M3479B

(G. Penzel) Pacemaker # O3726B

PM Brilliante # M3751B

PM Brilliante # M3966B (collection Silversorcerer)

PM Soloist 4004B (T-bridge clutch & NY, Toronto, Paris)

(G. Penzel) Pacemaker # GU4049B (case is rectangular suitcase type typical of late 40s - early 60s)(The number on both keyed parts is GU4049B. Another stamp is 16284 made in Germany.... From my Dad's clarinet shop... His inventory includes many vintage, or otherwise highly valuable instruments....) Source=seller

PM Brilliante # M4163B Original registration letter January 13th,1947 Walter W. Mueller

PM Brilliante # M4261B

PM Brilliante # M4498B

PM Brilliante # M4535B

PM Brilliante # M4668B (Owner died Honolulu 1957 - Ted Wells of Ted Wells and the Band - other web documents indicate activity of owner/player as late as 1954)

PM Brilliante # M4748B (collection G. Kern, tear shaped keys LJ)

PM Brilliante # M5151B

(G.Penzel) Pacemaker # ?5229B

PM Brilliante # M5487B

PM Soloist  # 5775B "France" (Original owner selling this Penzel Mueller Soloist wood clarinet.  In excellent condition.  All parts work and cork in great condition.  Used three years in Jr. High school mid 1950's.  Has "France" stamped in wood.)

(G.Penzel) Pacemaker # 6228B (collection Silversorcerer)

War Contracts circa 1940 (?) It is now apparent that all M models beyond M4163B are after 1947;- those marked "US" are Korean conflict era military issue clarinets-

US Brilliante # M6453B (collection Silversorcerer)

US Brilliante # M6532B  PM

US Brilliante # M6537B / M6532B ("This vintage clarinet was used by my Father who was a professional musician in the Glenn Miller era." source = son of owner, seller)

US Brilliante # M6844B (built 1949?, source = seller/unknown/unconfirmed)

US Brilliante # SM7672B (no Super Brilliante marks)

US Brilliante # M8012B

US Brilliante # M8276B (collection Silversorcerer)

(G.Penzel) Pacemaker # U875B (Made in Germany 8477) (collection Silversorcerer)

Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SL8984B (traveling with new bell)

Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # ?9212B

Penzel Mueller Empire # H13702B

Penzel Mueller Empire # H14898B (collection Silversorcerer)

Penzel Mueller Empire # H15208B (collection Silversorcerer) (nickel silver keys)

Production ceases (1956-60?)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 24, 2015, 12:22:16 PM
This catalog page gives some idea of production numbers for various models. It is one of the few documents that lends insight into the production output of the company. Ultimately, that information must also be reconciled with the serial number format and timeline. Note the very high production numbers for the Artist model, 23,000 (and counting) and 8,000 and counting for the later Brilliante top model. It is plausible that the Empire production numbers were high as well. But this information begs the question, is it plausible that there is only one serial number sequence in the letter prefix format or is there a separate numerical series for each model? So far in the serial number data collected here there are no duplicate numbers in the serials followed by "B".

Early serial records also indicate a company that made only a few instuments, close to 10,000 serialized by 1928. For a company in business since 1899, that is a relatively low output. But this catalog suggests that production grew considerably over time.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Z.benitez@sbcglobal.net on August 30, 2015, 12:18:14 PM
I am a retired art teacher and have a Penzel Muller Pruefer LP clarinet that I used in my studio classes as a drawing prop.The serial number is stamped on the 2 long parts(I know nothing. About clarinets)
The number is 3795 , the reed holder and cap is marked France. I acquired it in the 70's in Iowa.
It is a beautiful item.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 30, 2015, 09:25:56 PM
I am a retired art teacher and have a Penzel Muller Pruefer LP clarinet that I used in my studio classes as a drawing prop.The serial number is stamped on the 2 long parts(I know nothing. About clarinets)
The number is 3795 , the reed holder and cap is marked France. I acquired it in the 70's in Iowa.
It is a beautiful item.

I have added to the timeline. Thank-you. French caps and ligatures are quite common and might not be original equipment on one that old, but I noted it anyway. Any idea of the history before the 70s? This one has to be pretty early on. Before I started collecting the serial numbers, I had seen a few come by the auctions that were Pruefer partner clarinets and all of them appear to be circa 1915.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: 8Paulque on September 02, 2015, 11:18:57 AM
Clarinet   in my possession
Penzel Meuller Co. New York
dropped wing Eagle above oval  with “B” above
Serial # 8855 on both barrels   Horizontal
barrels are marked with “L.P.”
Eagle & oval on the bell
Selmer xxxxxxxxx 3  on mouth piece   
The barrel has no markings but rings match the others.

My father had this before taking up the oboe when in H. S band 
He was born  1911 so this should date before 1928.    Worth reconditioning for my grandchild?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: philpedler on September 02, 2015, 07:01:27 PM
Wow! This is great stuff. Thanks so very much, Silversorcerer!

I hope to eventually post this at the clarinetpages.net site.

Fantastic!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 06, 2015, 02:08:31 PM
Clarinet   in my possession
Penzel Meuller Co. New York
dropped wing Eagle above oval  with “B” above
Serial # 8855 on both barrels   Horizontal
barrels are marked with “L.P.”
Eagle & oval on the bell
Selmer xxxxxxxxx 3  on mouth piece   
The barrel has no markings but rings match the others.

My father had this before taking up the oboe when in H. S band 
He was born  1911 so this should date before 1928.    Worth reconditioning for my grandchild?

I currently possess a few of the "B LP" models of that era for restoration. These are among the finest USA made clarinets and I think the older ones are as good as later models, particularly in the material quality and key work fit.

Original mouthpieces are easy enough to come by, I pick them up when I can. The Selmer MP is probably pretty good;- barrels were usually marked but if that one fits and matches, the length is the most important thing. It's pretty easy to get a barrel;- the new Martin Freres company will make new barrels custom tuned for Penzel Mueller for a very reasonable price. That one could be restored for far less than the purchase price of a modern clarinet of almost equal quality. Bottom line is like most tone woods, grenadilla of high quality is nearly exhausted.

Thank you for the entry data, I am updating the list above today.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on September 06, 2015, 10:45:47 PM
Well, here's one that I sold a while ago.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231659788572?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1561.l2649

I don't remember the serial number though - sorry!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 07, 2015, 03:10:46 AM
Well, here's one that I sold a while ago.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231659788572?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1561.l2649

I don't remember the serial number though - sorry!

The serial is # 5I75;- I  almost bid on that one, but I was out playing during the auction. I always am present for the end of the auctions I bid on. I thought the barrel was a particularly nice touch. I mean hey, if it's not original it should be obvious, right?

It is rare if one is listed more than a couple of days that I will not catch it. Typically if the number is not listed, I send a polite question. This one is in the database and the photos posted are saved in my files on PM clarinets that I do not own.  8)

I have that data base spread sheet under construction. I have the fields and some of the formulas set up and am working on entries. It's going to be the hornucopia for clarinets.  :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on September 07, 2015, 12:06:25 PM
I totally forgot that I had a picture of the serial...

I was going to fix it up, but I had/have a million and one other clarinets that I need to get rid of ASAP.  So bye bye Penzel!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 17, 2015, 08:35:41 PM
- Couple of new additions today, one surprising one. The first is another LP B in the early serial sequence which has a straight rear register lever. This one narrows the timeline space between the shift from the front wrap around register key to the straight rear lever and pushes it closer to circa 1910-1915.

The second one is more surprising. This is a Pacemaker that has a double letter prefix;- GU. One might think at first that this is for G. Penzel, however, we find that this is a German made G. Penzel. It is too late in style (T bridge clutch on LJ) to be an early model before the partnership. We have seen the "U" prefix before on the student G.Penzel Trailblazer model and G.Penzel "Professional" model.

My first guess is that the "G" prefix letter is for Germany. The "U" is still unclear but it is so far observed only on G.Penzel brands. The instrument also has a separate German serial number in addition to the typical USA serialization. We now have pretty well documented evidence that Penzel Mueller in later years imported instruments from both France and Germany.

It is also looking like the later serial format is sequential only within given models with several serial sequences running parallel rather than one sequence for all numbers. Each letter serial prefix appears to have an independent numerical serial sequence. This, of course, greatly complicates accurate dating by serial sequence. It increases the importance of noting case styles, key styles, and anecdotal information on instruments. I haven't altered the list to reflect this, but it does not seem plausible to me that a suitcase style cased German import fits into the timeline pre-war. This German Pacemaker looks too much like the typical post-war student clarinet in every way. I saved a few photos of it. The presence of a "T" style safety bridge engagement tab on the lower joint ring key is just not a typical feature of pre-war clarinets.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 29, 2015, 08:41:14 AM
Adding an Artist model, L103B,  to the list today from an Ebay listing. The sellers are learning to give the serials because if they don't, I will ask.  ;D  This one is another "L" Artist, which I think is a result of the introduction of the "Brilliante" model which one can look at two ways. Prior to the Brilliante, Artist models were "M" models. When the "M" model became the Brilliante, an "L" model, the new Artist model, was what was added. If one looks carefully at the Artist models, one notices that there are early Artist model markings, and then later ones and the markings are not identical. "M" Artists and "L" artists are not the same clarinet. An "M" Artist is in fact an early "Brilliante".

Also coming up is another German G. Penzel Pacemaker. The seller isn't reporting that it is German, probably hasn't really looked for a mark, but I can see "German clarinet" because it has the familiar coat-hook thumb rest. Hopefully the seller will respond to my serial request. A few weeks ago there was a German Pacemaker that had both the US serialization and an additional serialization from the German maker. If we can get a few of those, we can compare that to the serial sequences of German makers and figure out which maker was building the German G. Penzel Pacemakers for Penzel Mueller.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on November 01, 2015, 12:46:56 AM
Another definitive time line marker has surfaced along with the referenced instrument and good photographic documentation. This is Brilliante # M4163B, which had with it a letter on Penzel Mueller Co. letterhead from Walter Mueller to the owner acknowledging the registration of the clarinet, dated January 13, 1947. This really doesn't resolve too many questions, but it seems to place most of the currently known military marked Penzel Mueller clarinets into the post war era, perhaps the Korean War. The clarinet is pictured with many accessories, an original case, etc. With this document we can now date at least one case style more accurately. This is the box type rectangular case with the clear plastic handle.

It is oddly coincidental that our best paper documentation so far is three documents that are quite regularly spaced, 1927, 1937, 1947. The implication of these documents is that after the letter model designations begin to appear on the instruments, there is no longer a single sequential serialization. It looks far more plausible that each model has its' own serial sequence after the letter prefixes appear. We still do not have any number duplications, but we are having some information that certainly does not conform to a single numerical serial sequence.

A few more interesting ones have been added;- note that one is an early Artist model with 7 rings, articulated C#/G# and evidence of having had a right hand pinkie lever for low Ab.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on November 01, 2015, 08:02:38 PM
Something that may be of interest to your time line

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Penzel-Mueller-Co-New-York-Vintage-Clarinet-wood-body-w-case-/272031332943?hash=item3f5654ba4f:g:cg8AAOSwwbdWMvBM
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on February 01, 2016, 01:23:31 PM
I added several more Penzel Muellers that I have seen since my last post and one is very interesting;- others continue to fill in the minor blanks.

The appearance of "Empire State" number H-12385 complete with the original case and all major parts is an artifact that in every way corresponds to the late 1930s professional clarinets. What this tells us with certainty is that the letter prefix serialization was underway at least for the Empire State models by the late 30s, however the numbers in these serials are very high, which might indicate that the H prefix was applied to Empire models while the original numerical sequence was maintained. It should also be noted that an "Empire State" marked Penzel Mueller has all the same features common to the Empire model and earlier LP B model. Even the case interior is the same as it is for my Empire H-14898B. Many of these early models were material hybrid in nature;- usually fine grenadilla except for the bell, which was usually a composite, bakelite on most of the ones I have. Sometimes these also have wooden bells, but the composite bells are more common in the Bb LP, Empire, and Empire State models. And of course there is the model designating H prefix. As we have often surmised, an Empire State model is the Empire during a certain time frame, and now we know that included the late 1930s. This gives a us a very definitive marker for the "H" model, be it "Empire" or "Empire State".

Another Bel Canto model has appeared with an "R" prefix serial. It is becoming apparent that the Bel Canto was the "R" model.

Most of these in the list I have collected some photographs to go with the numbers.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 12, 2016, 06:43:58 PM
... Adding an early LP Eb Albert system # 6411, the second early Eb to be added to the list. This one is currently on an auction site and in splendid restored condition. What I see right away is the two piece body and the original bell embellishment;- not on many models I have seen. I could post a link but you know where to look.  ;)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 14, 2016, 08:34:15 AM
We now have several examples of serial numbers with a "U" prefix and these "U" models are variously the "Professional", "Trailblazer", or "Pacemaker", models. These are the student/intermediate line models, usually identified as "G. Penzel", but obviously were built mid 20th century with features like the T-shaped LJ bridge engagement. These U models were added late in the Penzel Mueller history. We don't have enough information so far to know if the model names ran parallel or sequential in time. So far either case is plausible, but in general it looks like the sequence could be Professional > Trailblazer > Pacemaker. If that is the case, Penzel Mueller really only made one student model, the U model.

The quality these U models that I have seen up close is such that these are as well made as many professional clarinets and feature durable key plating, fine wood, and very good playing characteristics. The brass "student" equivalent trumpet of the 1960s would have been something like a Bach Mercedes. These are not typical beginner band clarinets, IMO.

The letter prefixes could be more important than the names on the clarinets in designating features. Note that the majority of letters in the alphabet are never used as prefixes. Rather than an alphanumeric serial system, once the prefix system was adopted, each model had a different serial sequence. This, of course, greatly complicates specifically dating any given clarinet, except those few that have dated documentation.

Summarizing the pre-fix letter/model serial system:

H - Empire or Empire State (no exceptions yet)
L - Artiste model after introduction (post war?) of the Brilliante model
M- Artiste model before Brilliante and then Brilliante (all Brilliantes so far are M, Artistes are M or L so far)
R - Bel Canto (no exceptions so far although Bel Canto models exist in the early serial series with no letters)
U - Professional, Traiblazer, Pacemaker (there are some exceptions that have unusual serializations)

SM- Brilliante or Super Brilliante
SL- Super Brilliante
No pre-fix with B suffix only - Soloist (includes some exceptions)

The first time I saw a "B" suffix PM serial, I thought it was for the Bb model. I now think it is more plausible that the B suffix designates the second serial period and nothing else.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 20, 2016, 02:45:56 PM
When we think of Penzel Mueller clarinets, the ubiquitous association is "American". And most of them are USA built and typify the high quality associated with New England musical instrument makers. However, there is no denying the evidence that some imported European clarinets of good quality were branded G. Penzel and marketed by Penzel Mueller as student line instruments under various names, such as Trailblazer. One of these is in my current collection.

When a certain Italian made clarinet (serial 5/258) sold by the Pastore music company of New Jersey came my way, I had to do a double take. I saw a few characteristics that pointed to Rampone as a plausible maker of the Pastore, but something else caught my eye. The Pastore has a pointed post anchor on the bottom key post of the LJ. This feature is common to most Rampone clarinets I have seen. I had another clarinet somewhere with the same kind of anchor.....

I was surprised to find that the same post anchor appears on G. Penzel Trailblazer U2265B as does a second serial number;- 7/753.  ???

I think there is a very good case to be made that Trailblazer U2265B was made in Italy by Rampone. I made a series of photos of the Italian Pastore (Rampone) and the Trailblazer side by side. These are identical clarinets except for tarnish. The biggest difference I found was in the bell ring shape. To illustrate how different the Trailblazer bell is from a Penzel Mueller Empire bell, I put the Empire bell between the Pastore bell and the Trailblazer bell. Take note;- no where on the Trailblazer could I find any "made in Italy" notice. So far there are two other European Penzel Mueller clarinets in the record, one markded France and another marked Germany. Now we have one that is plausibly Italian and unmarked:

Photo of the additional serial placement next to the Pastore serial placement (it's the same on both joints), photo of the register key spring screw location, photo of the pointed post anchors:
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 20, 2016, 02:59:44 PM
Are all Trailblazer models Italian? That remains to be known. Certainly the best evidence is the second serial number and the key work details that are "Rampone-ish". In the case of one of the German made Pacemakers, the serial is prefixed GU, and it has a second serial number as well. The other German Pacemaker is simply prefixed "U", but likewise marked "Made in Germany" and also has a second serial number. Which German maker? Good question. We still don't know much about the French ones, we have only one record of a Soloist made in France. I think all of these are post war models and certainly by the names "Pacemaker" and "Trailblazer" we can safely assume that those two models were student models.

Here are a few more photos of the Trailblazer and Pastore side by side. I found them to be identical in all but the most minor details. Note also that both have nickel plated posts, but nickel-silver keys.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 20, 2016, 03:06:14 PM
One of the defining characteristics of vintage Rampone clarinets is the rather short bell. It's short enough to make one suspect that it might belong on a C clarinet or a high pitched B. Here are three bells, the Pastore (marked made in Italy), A Penzel Mueller Empire bell (for reference), and the G. Penzel Pacemaker bell.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 21, 2016, 04:04:07 PM
Did Schreiber & Sohne make the "Germany" marked G. Penzel Pacemakers?

It appears to be plausible. There are many differences between a Pacemaker marked "MADE IN GERMANY" and one without such a mark. The first photo here shows Pacemaker 6228B (right), most plausibly USA made, next to U875B with additional serial # 8477, clearly marked ""MADE IN GERMANY". The German Pacemaker is the one with the tarnished nickel-silver keys. In the third photo 6288B is on the left and is blank in the area where U875B has the second serial and Germany mark.

The fourth photo shows the mark of Pacemaker U875B / #8477 to the right of Schreiber & Sohne #4348. While the key work in the upper joint of the Schreiber has as many differences as similarities, the wood dimensions are identical, the lower joint key work far more similar, and the serial imprint unmistakably the same. As luck would have it in our favor, two of the digits occur in both serials. The "4" and the "8" slant the same direction and are the same size, the digits have the same spacing, and the "MADE IN GERMANY" embossing is identical. There is a slight bit of dimensional distortion due to the camera angle. The clarinets measure about the same size.

The Schreiber & Sohne serialization corresponds to that company's production during the 1950s, which places the German made Pacemaker in the same decade. Note that the USA made Pacemaker has dropped the "U" letter prefix but maintains the "B" suffix.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 21, 2016, 04:11:38 PM
Just as there are differences in the placement of the markings on the Soloist model marked "France" there are differences in the placement of the markings on the Pacemaker models marked "Germany". The lower joint of the German Pacemaker is marked at the bottom with "G. Penzel Pacemaker" The apparently USA made Pacemaker is not marked on the lower joint except for the serial number. The bell markings and materials are also different. the USA made Pacemaker has a grenadilla bell the quality of which is equal to the Brilliante model bells and the German Pacemaker has a Bakelite bell. Note the different placement of the markings.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on March 21, 2016, 09:39:43 PM
Re-arranging the data collected so far with the sequence of each model separated. I think this gives a better idea of how the system worked and is easier to get an idea of when a given serialized model was made, even though in most cases we are guessing.

1892 Founded by G Penzel

G.L. Penzel & Bro. No serial "C" clarinet

1899 P&M partnership
The earliest serialization system certainly appears to be a simple numerical sequence after a few years of no serialization.

Penzel Mueller No serial B (HP) German sys 6-ring
Penzel Mueller # 339 7-ring Boehm (rollers on spatulas, Eb lever for L5) (collection of G. Kern)

1914 P&M, G. Pruefer partnership ? 1914 - 1920 (Source Sax on the web, poster cyclopathic: History:

Pruefer started clarinet company in 1906.
In 1914 he merged with Penzel and Mueller to form Penzel Mueller and Pruefer
In 1920 Pezel had died, Mueller gained control of the company and Pruefer retired
In 1920 Gus Pruefer had traveled to Markneukirchen, Germany and helped Moennig to modernize factory
1921 Restarted Pruefer clarinet company in US (young Hans Moennig joins Pruefer in RI)
1976 Pruefer factory in RI burned


Penzel Mueller Pruefer no-serial LP B 7-ring Boehm, wrap around register key.
Penzel Mueller Pruefer # 3795 LP B (straight lever register key, French ligature & cap)

1920? P&M - Prufer separation. The little information so far leaves some confusing issues. How many clarinets from the partnership had no serials? When the clarinets from the partnership are serialized, does this have any relation to previous or later Penzel Mueller serials or Pruefer serials? Pre WW1 > Post WW1 is therefore one of the more confusing serial periods. There are 3 clarinets with military markings in Penzel Mueller serial area 4700-5400. Are these pre-war or post war serials? Before or after the Pruefer partnership? The serials before the war, during the war and immediately after are still hard to nail down. There is also the duplicated number;- #3795 appearing on a Pruefer partnership clarinet and also on one simply marked Penzel Mueller LP B. 
 
Penzel Müller (reported spelling, unreadable in photo) # 775 Albert / simple 2-ring Eb LP USQMC (instruments made for the USQMC date from just after the end of WW1, apparently early 1920s?)
Penzel Mueller # 3338 LP A (front spiral key, not typical PM wrap around)
Penzel Mueller # 3795 LP B (7-ring, rear register key)
Penzel Mueller # 4036 LP A (front register key)
Penzel Mueller # 4685 B German sys 5 ring USQMC (WW1 era?)
Penzel Mueller # 4743 LP B USN (WW1 era?) (reviewed on Clarinet Pages Therese K)
Penzel Mueller # 5175 LP B Albert
Penzel Mueller # 5267 Eb LP Albert 5-ring
Penzel Mueller # 5393 5-ring Albert "USN" (WW1 era?)
Penzel Mueller # 5746 LP E Albert
Penzel Mueller # 5845 Bel Canto Eb
Penzel Mueller # 6411 LP Eb
Penzel Mueller # 6631 LP B 6631 spiral register
Penzel Mueller # 6839 LP A full Boehm articulated C# (Dave LeBlanc restoring)
Penzel Mueller # 6998 LP B Full Boehm/artic with LH5 Ab
Penzel Mueller # 7214 LP A full Boehm articulated C# (mechanic)
Penzel Mueller # 77xx LP C Boehm system
Penzel Mueller # 7727 LP B 6-ring (bakelite bell, front register key, key part substitution LJ ?)
Penzel Mueller # 7769 LP B 7769 has spiral register, (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller # 7902 LP C Albert/German system
Penzel Mueller # 8270 LP A (Phil Pedler)
Penzel Mueller # 8458 LP B (straight lever register key, bakelite bell broken) traveling with Pan American bell now
Penzel Mueller # 8739 LP B 5-ring Albert
Penzel Mueller # 8855 LP B (My father had this before taking up the oboe when in H. S band.  He was born  1911 so this should date before 1928.)
Penzel Mueller # 8937 LP A (bbranha)
????? Penzel Mueller # 9031-C (this one is hand serialized and is a Boehm clainet in the key of C, quite unique)
Penzel Mueller # 9250 LP B 9250 has straight lever register key (still mark LP Bb) (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller # 9544 LP A (traveling with Buffet barrel and Barbier bell)
Penzel Mueller # 9934 June 1927 Sale's receipt for #9934 Penzel Mueller LP B Albert #5
Penzel Mueller # 10790 LP B 7-ring, Bakelite bell, flush band UJ (well done) traveling with Jacques Albert Fils & unmarked barrels
Penzel Mueller # 10893 LP B
Penzel Mueller # 10973 LP B
Penzel Mueller # 11111 Full Boehm

(Beginning of named models, Artist and Empire State, later "M" and "H" models (date = 192? - 193?) and plausibly roughly coincides with discontinuance of "LP" designated instruments with adoption of USA A=440Hz standard.)

Penzel Mueller # 1xxx1 Artist "A" articulated C#/G#
Penzel Mueller # 11601 ?
Penzel Mueller # 12543 LPB Albert #5 USQMC
Penzel Mueller # 12835 Empire State ("B" above model name, original serial locations, no B suffix, early key type, early thumb rest, block letter style embossing, Bakelite bell)
Penzel Mueller # 13092B Empire State (scratch or H or F prefix?, "B" above model name, original serial locations, B suffix, early key style, block letter style embossing, wood bell with no markings shown, possibly substituted for an original Bakelite bell)
Penzel Mueller # 13103B Empire State (no "B" above model name, original serial locations, apparently no letter prefix, early key style, block letter style embossing, Bakelite bell)
Penzel Mueller # H13163B Empire State ("B" above model name, original serial locations, B serial suffix, early key type, early thumb rest, block letter style embossing, bell and barrel missing)
Penzel Mueller # 13460 ("B" over trademark, no model name, no prefix or suffix, no LP designation.)
Penzel Mueller # 13695 Artist (Alfearless, UK)
Penzel Mueller # 13888 Artist (7-ring articulate C#, pinned upper joint)
Penzel Mueller # 13919 Artist
Penzel Mueller # 14280 Artist (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller # 14386 Artist (articulated C#/G#)
Penzel Mueller # 15082 Artist (7-ring articulated C#/G#) (There is evidence that this clarinet had an auxiliary Ab key between the left hand Low E and F# keys but it has since been removed and discarded by a previous owner)
Penzel Mueller # 15448 Artist
Penzel Mueller # 15547 Artist
Penzel Mueller # 15586 Artist
Penzel Mueller # 15601 ?
Penzel Mueller # 15607 Artist A
Penzel Mueller # 15836 Artist 
Penzel Mueller # 16216 Artist (articulated C#/G#)
Penzel Mueller # 16613 Artist (serials to new locations no pre-fix, no suffix, Genuine Grenadilla, Patent applied for on bell, pinned upper joint)
Penzel Mueller # 17205 Artist (serial number locations moved to trills and RH5 cluster)
Penzel Mueller # 17444 Artist (collection A Bellows)
Penzel Mueller # 18542 Artist (7-rings, articulated C#, two side key touches between LJ rings)

Serial Format changes (Date = 193?)

The letter designated models each had their own serial sequence so what we have so far with a small data sample allows only a very loose date estimate for most models. The application of letters seems to closely follow the relocation of the serial number embossings. "M" series begins as Artist model, "H" series as Empire. The "R" Bel Canto model was added, much later Brilliante replaced Artist as "M", "L" was added and became the new Artist. During the post WW2 era, the "U" student models appear sometimes with additional pre-import serials. The U models are both domestically produced and imported. It appears that the very last clarinets Penzel Mueller produced were the "SM" or "SL" Super Brilliante models. Others with "B" serials with no letter prefix bearing names such as Studio Recording and Soloist might also be among the very latest produced.

"H" model Serials:
(Plausibly the "H" designation begins around 1930, perhaps replacing the "LP" models. Production of "H" Empires continues until all production ceases.)

Penzel Mueller Empire # H127B (collection Silversorcerer) (silver plated tear-drop keys, wood bell, original fitted case)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H924B
Penzel Mueller Empire # H977B
Penzel Mueller Empire # H1052B (teardrop keys, traveling with Artist Bell)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H1318B (German silver keys, wood bell)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H1360B (German silver keys, wood bell)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H-1542 B Empire
Penzel Mueller Empire # H2198B (not tear shaped keys)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H2240B (wood bell, Noneyet, not tear shaped keys, no lower bell ring)
Penzel Mueller Empire warranty for # H-12372  Model # 225W 11/10/1937 (No clarinet photos available, warranty only, and curiously no "B" suffix. Therefore it is unclear whether this warranty references an Empire with the "B" suffix or an earlier Empire which only had a number, the "H" designation appearing on the paper work only?)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H13702B
Penzel Mueller Empire # H14630B
Penzel Mueller Empire # H14898B (collection Silversorcerer) (Bakelite bell)
Penzel Mueller Empire # H15208B (collection Silversorcerer) (Bakelite bell, nickel silver keys)

"M" model Serials:
(Plausibly the "M" designation begins around 1930, first as the Artist, then as the Brilliante. "M" model production continues until all production ceases. 2 SM prefixes appear late, one of which carries the Super Brilliante markings.)

Penzel Mueller Artist # M1068B (The number 1068 is stamped into the back of the E/B lever for the LH5)
Penzel Mueller Artist # M1519B (flat sterling silver rings)
Penzel Mueller Artist # M1719B "USN" (WW2 era?) (pre-Brilliante Artist gets M designation then L?)
Penzel Mueller Artist # M1920B / M1977B "USN" (upper is M1920B, lower is M1977B, barrel is D. Noblet)
Penzel Mueller Artist # M2312B

(introduction of the Brilliante is generally rumored to be post WW2)

Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3361B (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3417B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3479B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3736B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3751B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3935B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M3966B (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4032B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4163B Original registration letter January 13th,1947 Walter W. Mueller
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4197B (silver plated keys, 17/6)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4236B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4261B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4498B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4535B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4668B (collection Silversorcerer)(Owner died Honolulu 1957 - Ted Wells of Ted Wells and the Band - other web documents indicate activity of owner/player as late as 1954)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M4748B (collection G. Kern, tear shaped keys LJ)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M5151B
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M5487B

(possibly entering Korean conflict era, circa 1950)

Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M5898B US, traveling in a vintage Buffet case
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6165B appears that something embossed was removed by sanding from bell above Brilliante mark, also on the barrel. Case marked "U.S." looks original. Plausibly this was military issue and the "U.S." marks on the clarinet removed.
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6453B "US" (collection Silversorcerer, with reed envelope from Anderson Music Co., Dearborn, MI,  est. 1952)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6532B "US"
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6537B / M6532B "US" ("This vintage clarinet was used by my Father who was a professional musician in the Glenn Miller era." source = son of owner, seller)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6552B (traveling with a Couesnon mouthpiece, Selmer barrel, and Bettoney case)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M6844B "US" (built 1949?, source = seller/unknown/unconfirmed)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # SM7672B "US" (no Super Brilliante marks)
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # SM7690B "US" (no Super Brilliante marks) 17/6
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M8012B "US"
Penzel Mueller Brilliante # M8276B "US" (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SM8846B
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SM8941B (collection A. Bellows)
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SM9001B (KimM613' father, ".... He was born in 1941 and I remember him saying that he took lessons when he was younger. I believe that this was the only clarinet he ever owned.")
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SM9187B (silver plated or silver keys)

"L" model Serials:
(Plausibly the "L" Artist series begins with the post WW2 introduction of the Brilliante model, which assumed the "M" designation. "L" production likely continues until all production ceases. SL serials appear marked as Super Brilliante late in the serial series)

Penzel Mueller Artist # L103B
Penzel Mueller Artist # L987B
Penzel Mueller Artist # L1085B - "US"
Penzel Mueller Artist # L1104B
Penzel Mueller Artist # L1706B
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SL8984B
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # SL8989B

"R" model Serials:
(The R Bel Canto is perhaps the 3rd oldest lettered model, plausibly introduced in the 1930s. It is also apparently rare appearing only sporadically compared to other models from the same period)

Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R380B
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R446B
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R777B
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R902B (Phil's Gallery)
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R964B
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R1230B (collection Silversorcerer) (with a curious mark;- a circle around a large "P" super-imposed over a smaller "M" above "MADE IN U.S.A." The embossing is at the bottom back of the UJ.)
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # R1537B


"U" and other student model Serials:
(Plausibly post WW2, G. Penzel student line begins, some models imported from Europe sporadically until all production ceases.)

Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Professional # U237B
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Pacemaker # U875B (Germany, plausibly by Schreiber & Sohne?) # 8477 (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Trailblazer # U2265B with 7/573 (Italy? looks like Pastore (stenciled Rampone or Otello Milano?) (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Pacemaker # U3744B (France, Tinker73)
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Professional # U7166
Penzel Mueller American Gloritone wood model # gr3134B
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Pacemaker # Vr3247B
Penzel Mueller Jean Aubert # J3380B (only one so far, odd offset A/G#, heavy trill guild, circle P over M marks)
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Pacemaker # O3726B
Penzel Mueller (G. Penzel) Pacemaker # GU4049B (case is rectangular suitcase type typical of late 40s - early 60s)(The number on both keyed parts is GU4049B. Another stamp is 16284 made in Germany.... From my Dad's clarinet shop... His inventory includes many vintage, or otherwise highly valuable instruments....) Source=seller

Later models with no letter prefix but with the "B" suffix (at some point it appears prefixes were dropped possibly because they were redundant). It is plausible that these are among the last Penzel Mueller clarinets produced.

Penzel Mueller Studio Recording # SR 3535B (France)
Penzel Mueller Soloist # 4004B (T-bridge clutch & New York, Toronto, Paris mark) (collection G. Kern)
Penzel Mueller New York # 4701B (T-bridge clutch, key work similar to Thibouville Freres M. Masson)
Penzel Mueller (G.Penzel) Pacemaker # 5221B
Penzel Mueller (G.Penzel) Pacemaker # 5229B (collection G. Kern)
Penzel Mueller Studio Recording # 5366 model (New York, Toronto, Paris, appears to be later model, serial location bottom UJ, top LJ, separate G#/A posts) (collection reedalanb)
Penzel Mueller Bel Canto # 5486B (no R pre-fix)
Penzel Mueller Soloist # 5775B "France" (Original owner selling this Penzel Mueller Soloist wood clarinet.  In excellent condition.  All parts work and cork in great condition.  Used three years in Jr. High school mid 1950's.  Has "France" stamped in wood.)
Penzel Mueller (G.Penzel) Pacemaker # 6228B (collection Silversorcerer)
Penzel Mueller Soloist # 6465B (T-bridge clutch & New York, Toronto, Paris)
Penzel Mueller "France" # 7866? Penzel Mueller (looks like Thibouville Freres M. Masson keys)
Penzel Mueller #7967B "France"
Penzel Mueller Super Brilliante # 9212B

1956 - 1960 Somewhere between these years, Penzel Mueller ceases operations entirely. Based on the data compiled so far, total instrument production appears to be 40,000 to 50,000 clarinets. This total is a fairly low production number compared to a maker such as C.G. Conn, Ltd., whose brass instrument production was almost a million instruments in the same time frame.

Metal Clarinets appear to have a separate serial sequence:

American Gloritone
#3855 (Daniel_Bingamon)
#480(?)1 (Gloritone hand incised, surround stamped)
#5357 (stamped bell engraving)

Clari-met               
#400 (double wall with separate bell, lower joint, upper joint with integrated barrel, 7-ring full Boehm with articulated C#)   
#S1571 (single wall, separate joints, barrel, bell integrated with lower, 17/6)

Artist (keep looking)

Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Alfearless on April 02, 2016, 09:46:33 AM
Hello,

Just joined. Have just acquired PM Artist model, Serial No. looks to be 3,XXX.
Has 'B' above the eagle emblem on top joint.
Can't make out any pre or suffix letters by the Ser. No. which is at the base of the lower joint.
Doesn't seem to correspond with numbers you have for the Artist model series.
I don't think I'm overlooking any digits, but it is a little scratched in that area.
Can supply pics if you wish.
Great work you're doing!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: rezzie on April 02, 2016, 10:41:58 AM
Hello,

Just joined. Have just acquired PM Artist model, Serial No. looks to be 3,XXX.
Has 'B' above the eagle emblem on top joint.
Can't make out any pre or suffix letters by the Ser. No. which is at the base of the lower joint.
Doesn't seem to correspond with numbers you have for the Artist model series.
I don't think I'm overlooking any digits, but it is a little scratched in that area.
Can supply pics if you wish.
Great work you're doing!
We always love to see pix.  Welcome to the forum.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 02, 2016, 01:12:22 PM
Thank you for sharing the information, Afearless;- we just have to look at the available data for what it is. The list has to correspond to the data as it is collected, not the other way around. If you have an Artist model in the 3000s, it is what it is and that is how I will list it. I have limited the list to clarinets which are photographically documented. Most of the data is collected from ebay sellers who have been kind and who realize the benefit of having compiled information to reference.

I've rearranged the list once already because it became clear very early in the process of collecting serial information that a simple numerical sequence could not fit with the production numbers claimed in various Penzel Mueller publications and simply putting numbers in order, while it appears this was the early method of serialization, doesn't fit later on when letters began to appear in the serials followed by numbers lower than the earliest PM clarinets on record. Obviously, the number sequence was reset at some point;- maybe more than once. The details of how and when are still sketchy. For instance I have an Empire, H-127-B. It has no "LP" designation. It has a straight rear lever register key. It is very obviously later than 1930 and cannot belong to a serialization method that would place it earlier than 1920.

We can approximately date the earliest PM clarinets by obsolete keywork features, like the wrap around front register key, which apparently disappears around serial #8000 in the mid 1920s (so far no later exceptions, but there are earlier exceptions, such as #3795 with a rear straight lever register key, which also has the "LP B" designation), and the "LP" designation, which also disappears sometime after the pitch standard became A=440. If there is an Artist model that fits into that area of the sequence, then it is what it is. Yours would be the earliest Artist to go into this list to date, and that is significant to find it and include it.

Very late models will also have features associated with the mid 20th Century, like separated A/G# posts, and T shaped bridge engagements. There appear to be two styles of keys, but so far, I haven't been able to connect that with certain time periods or models.

With only about a hundred PM clarinets documented out of tens of thousands, we can't really be too definitive yet, although some patterns are clearly emerging now. We can't say, "Artist models began with serial #XXXXX," we can only say the lowest serial of an Artist model so far on record here is 1xxx1. Your information pushes back the date of the earliest Artist designated model apparently.

Aside: I don't understand why people treat the numbers as X's. If someone could explain why some treat complete serials as classified data, I'm all ears. It's not like someone is going to create counterfeit Penzel Muellers although I suppose some of these could be stolen clarinets that turn up decades later in a closet somewhere. My Artist was stolen from Woody Herman, I think.  ;) Or maybe yours was and he replaced it later with mine and it got stolen as well. I'll send his ghost your way next time he shows up.

Bad humor aside, any other information that came with your clarinet is also useful. If there are reed envelopes in the case with a music store name on it, that is helpful as well. I found out that one of my Empires was originally sold or serviced in Waterbury Connecticut, which is coincidentally where my father was born. The store information was on a reed envelope in the case. My favorite Brilliante plausibly came from a store in Pittsburgh;- information from a reed envelope that lists "Penzel Mueller clarinets" on the envelope with the store name and address. It's minutia, but I find those details interesting. So anything like that is helpful. Sometimes I can find newspaper ads that give some idea of when the stores were in business.

Case styles can be informative if it appears to be an original case. Admittedly, that kind of information has to be looked at with some skepticism compared to what is actually inscribed on the clarinets.

If you have a four digit serial that begins with a 3, that would be earlier than any Artist model documented here so far. If it doesn't have a wrap around register key, that is something well worth noting. We don't know yet what physical features distinguished the earliest Artist models from the others simply marked "LP B" models other than the marks on them. Check both joints for matching numbers. Photograph them as close as your camera will do so sharply, outdoors in bright sun is best, just don't leave it in the sun for very long. Sometimes really sharp photos will pick up details that I can't see with my reading glasses.

Most of the early PM clarinets that I have seen are serial marked on both joints. Look on the bottom back of both joints. Artist models usually have the Artist designation on the front of both joints as well. There were different styles over the years for Artist model marks. Photographs are definitely most helpful. Almost all of the clarinets included in this list are photographically documented as well. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. At first I was not collecting the photographs, but I realized that later I would need to reference them to make any real sense of it as it comes together.

There are several Artist models listed that have only number serials and pre-date the "M" and "L" serial prefixes. The "B" at the top of your Artist is probably to distinguish it from an A, Eb, or C. When the B is part of the serial number, I am not sure what it means yet, but most models with a letter prefix also have a "B" suffix. A similar "B" is at the top of my own Artist model, #14280, which also has no "M" or "L" prefix and no "B" suffix in the serial number. From what you describe, yours is similar but a good bit earlier. I look forward to seeing a few photos when you have a chance to make some.

Most importantly, tell us how it plays.  ;D

 Photos are great, but they just tell us what we are looking at. I really want some sound files of the ones people are playing eventually included here. I haven't recorded any clarinets yet, but that will probably happen pretty soon.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Alfearless on April 07, 2016, 08:25:03 AM
Many thanks for your comprehensive response!
I attach images of the only serial number stamp on the instrument (base of lower joint), plus the Upper joint logo, 'B' and Eagle emblem showing it's an Artist model. The delay has been due to your request for sunlit shots (I'm in the U.K. - enough said!)

Sadly, arrived in a modern case, no additional historical items whatsoever - no m'piece. So no help there. It has the straight register key.
In answer to your obfuscation via 'X's' query re. Serial Nos., whilst I've never read about this or discussed with anyone, I've always taken this approach to mean that any nefarious type who might like to fabricate some 'evidence' that they are/were the owner of the instrument being discussed/sold, will be unable to do so without possession of the full serial number. You'll note this also minimises the chances of me hearing from Woody's legal team...

To the serial number matter on mine, I observe that there is a slight possibility that to the left of the '3', there could be what was once a mis-stamped '1' which under ravages of time and use has become somewhat difficult to make out. Obviously had there been a second stamp on the upper joint - which is a lot less mutilated, this matter could be resolved. It would help me to get sight of a figure one as used by PM on their serial stamping, as there is what could be a large 'serif' at the top of the possible digit one.

Instrument is not yet in playing condition, but I will let you know once it's completed and am happy to provide audio evidence.
For now though, I think best to let the initial excitement die down and consider that the probability is that this is a 5 digit serial number beginning with one.
Still, as a newbie, I think it's important to make a spectacular entrance, don't you?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 07, 2016, 10:13:41 AM
Good job! The top photo shows it the clearest. I think there is definitely a very eroded "1" with both the serif and the elongated base there. I pulled that part of the photo out, enhanced the definition and contrast and the spacing looks very close to the space between the next two digits.

[edit: for the time being, this is still the earliest Bb Artist model in this compilation!]

Your second and third photos show how easy it is to miss that "1". My eyes at this point would not pick it up except at the right angle in bright sun with a magnifying lupe. I posted a photo of the serial of my own early Artist (only Artist I have so far and it played really well until the old pads finally gave it up after a couple of weeks) for comparison. The "1" is probably the same die and even without a lot of wear in that area, the 1 is stamped lighter than the other digits. I think that is why they changed the stamping orientation on the later serialization. It's not easy to get the embossing pressure even going around a curved piece of wood.

Too bad about your substitute case, but I can offer you a work around solution. What I have noticed is that while I have seen no counterfeit PM clarinets, the counterfeit case medallions are rampant in circulation in the US (see third photo). They are easily recognized when caught next to a genuine early PM case medallion. These counterfeits could be more rare in the UK, but I am sure you could pick one up depending on the exchange rate, plate it in copper to look more like an original, and mount it on an antique clarinet case.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 07, 2016, 10:40:55 AM
I'm trying to get it blown up more here. On my screen in Aperture it looks bigger for some reason.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 15, 2016, 05:59:38 PM
Some interesting information from a poster on Sax on the web ( http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?29773-Pruefer-Woodwind-Company-When-in-Operation (http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?29773-Pruefer-Woodwind-Company-When-in-Operation) ) who relates this timeline for the Penzel Mueller / Pruefer partnership:

History:
Pruefer started clarinet company in 1906.
In 1914 he merged with Penzel and Mueller to form Penzel Mueller and Pruefer
In 1920 Pezel had died, Mueller gained control of the company and Pruefer retired
In 1920 Gus Pruefer had traveled to Markneukirchen, Germany and helped Moennig to modernize factory
1921 Restarted Pruefer clarinet company in US (young Hans Moennig joins Pruefer in RI)
1976 Factory in RI burned

I don't know what the source of the information is ultimately, but the dates fit quite well with those we already know.

Additionally, a good number of the earliest serialized Penzel Mueller clarinets have original bakelite bells. Often we tend to think a bell of a different material means a substituted bell, but it might more often be an original bell;- particularly with Penzel Mueller clarinets.

Bakelite had become broadly adopted for many uses by 1920. We can place a rough marker of circa 1920+ for the earliest Penzel Mueller clarinets with original bakelite bells. Given what we have found so far, circa 1920, following the death of G. Penzel, serialization began and bakelite bells became the most common ones. Whether these changes occurred nearly simultaneously or in close sequence remains to be determined. One thing that is certain, Pruefer clarinet serial 2410 is very nearly identical in manufacture to a Penzel Mueller Pruefer that has no serial as well as Penzel Mueller #7727, which has a bakelite bell. Thus knowing a little about the history of G. Pruefer sheds light on the "circa 1920" Penzel Mueller history.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: KimM613 on April 26, 2016, 03:45:44 PM
Not sure if this helps at all on your timeline, but I have my dad's Penzel-Mueller Super Brilliante. It hasn't been played in probably 50 years, but it looks nice to me (someone who has no clue about clarinets!). Anyway, the serial number is SM9001B, and that is stamped on both the upper and lower joints. (Thanks to Google, I learned what some of these parts are called!) The mouthpiece is made by The Woodwind Co. in New York, and is a Steel Ebonite G7. Everything else is stamped either Penzel-Mueller or PM. I might see about having this refurbished and taking some lessons!
Anyway, I hope this helps in your serial number project!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 26, 2016, 05:32:00 PM
Thank you for the information, KimM613. The Super Brilliante model is very rare. That's an excellent mouthpiece too, but I generally use PM mouthpieces or a Vandoren 2RV with my Empire model. If that mouthpiece works for you, keep it. If not, experiment.

It certainly helps to have your information.  :) The Brilliante model generally has the "M" designation so "SM" is logical for the Super Briliante. Not all of the quirks of the serials are logical.

It would also help if you knew about when your father acquired the Super. Matching a serial to a "bought new" date is what puts the serials into context for us and we only have a few date certain serials. I'd love to see some photos when you get the time to do them and I will add your clarinet to the database very soon.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: KimM613 on April 26, 2016, 06:58:57 PM
Well, my dad passed away in '94, and unfortunately I never asked exactly when he got the clarinet. He was born in 1941 and I remember him saying that he took lessons when he was younger. I believe that this was the only clarinet he ever owned. I can try asking his older sister if she has any recollection of when he got it.

I'll be happy to take some photos for you in the coming days. Is it best to upload them here in a comment, or is another way preferable?



Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 26, 2016, 09:18:39 PM
KimM613, so far this is the highest serial number in the M serials;- the highest quality models. The Super "M" is creme de la creme.

That's a SUPER beginner instrument, but it's plausible that he obtained it in school or later as a young adult?

Either way this is useful because between about 12 years old and 22 years old, covers 1953 -> the end of the company. This is very significant to know. Various sources have production ending from 1956 to about 1960. Knowing just your father's birthday narrows down the years it could have been produced and helps estimate the production dates of M serial numbers between that time and the last serial / date match.

It also verifies that model "M" had a separate serial life from model "H" which probably exceeded it in production because it was the mid-priced model. Right now the best way to estimate production dates on the H, M, L, and R clarinets is to look backward from the highest serial numbers of those models produced at the time production ended. With the Brilliante M models we have another date certain at 1947, and we know the Brilliantes are post war. We also have a good number of stories that come with a few of these to see a very good general picture of at least the M model's production history.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: KimM613 on April 27, 2016, 07:21:49 AM
Took some pictures and will see if I can upload them here in a few posts. If there is another way you'd like to see the photos, please let me know.

I'll keep you posted on any info I can dig up about when/where my dad bought the clarinet!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: KimM613 on April 27, 2016, 07:23:12 AM
some more...
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: KimM613 on April 27, 2016, 07:24:36 AM
and the last few... I hope this wasn't hogging up too much space!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 27, 2016, 08:28:10 AM
Too many photos? No, no, please continue. Those are excellent. I like the way this forum uploader works. It allows for easy sharing and very good screen resolution.

It's rewarding to finally see a very late one like this that has the complete kit;- the accessories with it also place those in time. We might see those specific case materials again. Most likely the mouthpiece was purchased with the clarinet so that is useful to date it also. It's a gorgeous clarinet in pristine condition and it brings with a great deal of information. I certainly appreciate you sharing it here, K.  :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: jayrrich on September 25, 2016, 11:46:24 AM
For your timeline

Penzel Mueller Eagle Design B LP S/N 10893
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 26, 2016, 08:33:49 AM
For your timeline

Penzel Mueller Eagle Design B LP S/N 10893


Thank-you.  :)

I have a few others to add as well. I will update the serial list and include this one.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: abellows on October 30, 2016, 05:59:15 PM
Picked up an Artist Model serial # 17444. Just came out of its oil bath, and a polish job on the keys. One key from the upper joint and one on the lower joint have the last 3 of the serial number stamped on the underside. Serial number is stamped vertically on both sections. Ill attach some pics for reference.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: abellows on October 30, 2016, 06:00:50 PM
more pics
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on October 30, 2016, 07:52:40 PM
really nice eagle on the logo.  Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: abellows on November 02, 2016, 09:35:11 PM
Here it is padded up.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: abellows on November 03, 2016, 06:28:48 PM
Super Brilliante sn# SM8941B
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: abellows on November 03, 2016, 06:30:42 PM
more pics. Missing top ring on lower section. Think I might steal the one off my empire state.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: daniel_bingamon on December 23, 2016, 12:24:38 PM
My Clarinet is an American Gloritone, it says "Made in USA".  No maker name identified, Serial number on back of bell has no letters, just 3855.  Appears to be hand stamped, not engraved.

(http://kingsmills.us/clarinet.png)
(http://kingsmills.us/clarinet2.png)
(http://kingsmills.us/clarinet3.png)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Photoboy52 on January 31, 2017, 07:06:51 PM
Hello,
I just found this wonderful page last night doing some research on a Penzel Mueller Soloist I picked up yesterday at one of my favorite thrift stores down here in South East Texas. I saw it sitting in the display case and once I looked it over and did a very quick and dirty look on eBay I had to bite for $25. The serial number is: 6465B, it does not have what I think to be the original mouth piece it is labeled: Golden Goldentone 3 and appears to be plastic.  For the instrument the only issue I can see besides obvious wear to the keys is the lowest key on the upper 1/2 right side (the one the palm actuates) is broken off but the piece is there, and the top most pad on the right hand side is not all there. The rest of the instrument though looks to be in very nice shape, I'm 1/2 way tempted to get my mouthpiece off of my Martin Freres and give it a whirl with the pad plugged of course. Aside from adding the serial information did I make a good purchase and is it worth getting repaired and re-padded? I mostlikely want to keep it for a while and possibly teach my oldest daughter to play. But I can always be tempted with a good offer, everyone here seems to be very decent so I'm not worried mentioning offers lol.
(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/photoboy52/20170131_204648.jpg) (http://s26.photobucket.com/user/photoboy52/media/20170131_204648.jpg.html)
(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/photoboy52/20170131_203714.jpg) (http://s26.photobucket.com/user/photoboy52/media/20170131_203714.jpg.html)
(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/photoboy52/1485918018534188128410.jpg) (http://s26.photobucket.com/user/photoboy52/media/1485918018534188128410.jpg.html)
Thanks for y'alls time,
Willie
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on April 02, 2017, 08:24:09 PM
That Soloist is definitely worth some fix it up effort. It is one of the rarer late models. Thanks for sharing it and bringing photos. I will update the list soon with that and a couple of others I have seen lately.

All of the PM models are good clarinets, many of them great clarinets. This is one from the 50s toward the end of the run, but also when the build quality was quite good and most modern. A minor key graft for the broken key is not a big issue;- I've done a few key repairs with silver solder and it can often yield a near perfect and durable repair. Re-padding one of these is a good bit less expensive than finding an equivalent new clarinet.

I have not so far done much research on the metal PM clarinets. I have seen mostly just Gloritone models and only one Artist model, which was a military model. I should include these metal models because I am lately thinking that these are not stencils made for PM but are truly PM clarinets.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DJSMART on May 22, 2017, 06:26:47 PM
Hello everyone,

just found this page after 30yrs of owning a Penzel-Mueller clarinet...!

What a trove of information you've got here!

I'm an ex student of Newark Technical College (England), where they run a course in clarinet making and woodwind instrument repair.
(Class of 1990)

One of my lecturers back then (Peter Hudson) collected PM clarinets and let me have a beat-up 'Artist' model (in exchange for a baritone sax mouthpiece).

Serial number is M1068B and is found on both joints. (Top joint, just below the C/B trill key posts, vertically, and Bottom joint; just below the R/H pinky keys, also vertically.
The number 1068 is (hand) stamped into the back of the E/B lever for the L/H pinky.
Both joints and bell sport the eagle logo (head facing to viewer's left, talons clutching three arrows) and underneath the eagle:

PENZEL-MUELLER
LONG ISLAND CITY N.Y.

The bell is also stamped
GEN. GRENADILLA PAT. APPLIED FOR
underneath the stabilising ring at the back of the instrument.

The stabilising rings (bell and top of bottom joint) differ slightly, with the latter resembling more a Selmer profile.
I'm not sure which is the original.

The instrument is a standard 6-ring Boehm system in Bb.
Tuning is excellent at A=440Hz.
The three ringed holes of the R/H show evidence of undercutting by machine and hand.
(The instrument has been hand-tuned).


The instrument required extensive repairs, including pinning of the (partially-crushed) top joint. The barrel is missing, but a modified Selmer series 9 has done the job admirably.

Images to follow tomorrow (after the sun has risen...).

There was no mouthpiece with the instrument and the case is not the original.

Played with a 'GREAT NECK ORIGINAL' mouthpiece, the instrument has a full, rich tone and flexibility that one would expect from a professional standard instrument.





Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Airflyte on May 22, 2017, 06:54:26 PM
Hello everyone,

just found this page after 30yrs of owning a Penzel-Mueller clarinet...!

Welcome DJ !  That old Artist model is very worthy of a restoration. Go for it.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DJSMART on May 22, 2017, 07:48:44 PM
Hello everyone,

just found this page after 30yrs of owning a Penzel-Mueller clarinet...!

Welcome DJ !  That old Artist model is very worthy of a restoration. Go for it.

Thank you for the welcome...

(I did restore it all those years ago and the cork pads have lasted so long...but I suppose it could do with another one).
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Windsong on May 22, 2017, 07:56:27 PM
Welcome, DJ Smart,

"I'm an ex student of Newark Technical College (England), where they run a course in clarinet making and woodwind instrument repair"

What an incredible opportunity that must have been.  That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no doubt.


Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on May 22, 2017, 10:36:51 PM
# M-1068-B is the lowest "M" Artist number reported here to date. Thank-you so much.  :) Periodically I update the list and this will soon be added. I usually wait until I have about a half dozen new serials.

The more serial numbers we add, the clearer the method of serialization appears. I am quite certain now that after the letter prefixes (designating models) were adopted, each model numerical sequence was set to zero and started over. This is the reason that there are Empire models with very high serial numbers;- far higher than any other model. These are not necessarily later due to the higher numbers of Empires that were produced. As the intermediate model, the Empire model was most popular. It simply outran all other models in production numbers.

Artist "M" models (most expensive at the time) were next most popular and the M series also included the later Brilliante model, which took the "M" designation from the Artist model leaving the Artist with a new "L" series. That means that lower L numbers were built after higher M numbers. All the "L" models are later, but how these parallel other model production is still difficult to nail down give or take a good number of years.

Bel Canto clarinets are among the rarest. This was the entry PM model. It's sort of like an entry level Gibson guitar;- they didn't make many so all the serials are low numbers. Spread those out over a few decades of production of the Bel Canto. Incidentally, even though it is the low end of PM clarinets, the Bel Canto is a very very nicely made Penzel Mueller and is not to be avoided.

Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Rhythm on July 19, 2017, 09:01:59 PM
To add to the list of extant PM's, I have a Brilliante, US marked with matching SN's - M6548-B.  I have had a number of Brilliante and Artist models, but this one is the one I play more often.

Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 30, 2017, 04:22:51 PM
Here's one more for the timeline.

I just acquired a P-M Empire (NOT Empire State) clarinet, serial # H2240-B horizontally on both upper and lower joint.

I think, from reading the timeline that it would be pre-1937....or am I reading it incorrectly?  ???

Also, the bell is wood but lacks a metal ring around the mouth of the bell. Does anyone know if they were produced that way? It certainly doesn't appear to be damaged so I'm a little confused  :-\
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 30, 2017, 05:55:55 PM

Congratulations, and this is welcome news. I hope you can get us a few photos because so far there are few Empires with wooden bells on the list. Most appear to be early ones.

That one is definitely early but nailing it down is problematic. The reason is that while we do have a 1937 warranty record, we don't have any photos of the serials on that clarinet and that leaves some questions. Also, the number on that 1937 warranty is very high compared to yours for instance. It should be a little closer to the end of production if it is in the second serial series. If there were around 15,000 Empires, number 12372 should be closer to the end of that serialization (1956) than to the beginning (193?) I know we don't have this exactly right yet, particularly considering the conundrum introduced by Empire State number H12835, which has an H, but by other characteristics appears to be part of the first serialization. We still need more to fill in the blanks. It's like a jigsaw puzzle with about half the pieces missing and probably more than one out of place.

While that keeps me a little skeptical about the 1937 warranty date stake, I think it is safe to say that you have a 1930s clarinet by the best guess we can make so far. I wish I could be more confident, but I am reluctant. The Empire was the model that was the highest production model and the most popular. That is why it has serials that go far beyond the other models. If we look at the numbers we have so far, it appears that there were over 15,000 Empire models built, and we have to spread those out over about 25 years, give or take (?). The problem is that we don't know exactly when it starts, so the closer to the starting point, the less accurate we can estimate the date. Yours is definitely earlier in the period after the serialization by model was adopted. 193? That's the current problem. If there is anything in the case with writing on it, maybe an old reed envelope, that could help. Also the style of the case it came in might be significant if it is original.

I've seen more Empires with Bakelite bells than with wood, but as you can see on the list, I have a very low number one with a wooden bell that is original. It has a metal bell ring. I have seen wooden bells that have lost the ring on several different brands of clarinets and I am not sure how that happens. One would think that the wood must shrink catastrophically. If it was built without a ring, then it is the first PM that I know of like that. Photos of it would help, if you can post a few.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 30, 2017, 06:40:25 PM
Here are some pics:

http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah310/noneyet/20170730_205850_zpsdxje1hqp.jpg
http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah310/noneyet/20170730_212008_zpss23ceczr.jpg
http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah310/noneyet/20170730_211645_zpsrcptzy1l.jpg
http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah310/noneyet/20170730_210404_zpsexmjcrfy.jpg
http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah310/noneyet/20170730_210345_zpssa3liidu.jpg

As you can tell, the case is made to fit into a Martin alto sax case which houses a 1930s? Elkhart Band Instrument Co. sax...and underneath the clarinet case is a fitting to carry a flute as well! Sadly, no documentation came with the case...although there was a nice reed trimmer with blades for alto sax and clarinet :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 30, 2017, 07:42:54 PM
My apologies, but I can't tell much. I clicked on the link and got to the image below.

If it is in a sax doubler case, that probably isn't original, but I like those cases. Still the fact that it is with a 1930s saxophone is significant. It seems like the box and the gear in it all come from the same era. Tell me what I am doing wrong with photobucket. I clicked the link and can't see the images. We've had many photos disappear this way in the past few weeks due to some kind of glitch, we probably is not our forum software, but appears to be something new at photobucket. If there is a way to directly upload them here using the attachment options, that makes sure that the photos remain here.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 30, 2017, 07:59:06 PM
I used photobucket because I was afraid I would exceed the size limits (which I did...lol). I've resized them and we'll try direct uploading (fingers crossed)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 30, 2017, 08:01:38 PM
And here's the other two pics  :
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 31, 2017, 07:03:51 AM
It looks great to me. There were two key styles (at least) for the Empires but I am not sure if there is any specific time period connected to either one yet.

I do think that the bell had a ring at one time. I can't see that part of the photo clearly but my impression is that there is a groove inscribed around the edge of the bell. One built without a bell ring would be unusual. I don't know how the bells lose the rings. I think maybe the wood might swell enough to open the metal where it is joined and once that happens, getting it secured again would be difficult. I have seen a good handful of nice clarinets that do not have bell rings and also do not have any damage to the wood.

The bell ring is not very important and many very recently built clarinets have no bell ring. I would keep the original bell with the clarinet. It's more important to have the original parts, I think, than to have the ring. The ring being gone would not effect the sound. Socket rings are more important because they do have a mechanical function by reinforcing the socket so make sure those are tight and if they are lose, shim them with paper or cloth between the wood and the socket ring.

Is it in playing condition presently? I've played a few of these and an Empire is my preferred performance instrument presently. They usually play very easily and the way the keys are laid out fits my hands very well. It's a very pleasing instrument to handle and play.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 31, 2017, 07:26:19 AM
There's an air leak in the lower joint that keeps it from being fully functional at the moment but I'll be taking care of that when I find a good woodwind tech or when I figure it out myself. I took a bassoon to a Music & Arts and when I got it back the stringed tenon came back corked so I don't think she's going there  >:(

So after looking at the pics do you have any further idea where she fits in the timeline?

Also, here's a closer look at the bell. Hope it helps  :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on July 31, 2017, 09:34:35 AM
We know very well where she fits in the serialization sequence (I inserted it just now), but not knowing the date that serialization started, as I said before, limits greatly any foundation for something better than a guess at the decade. Of the more than 15,000 Empire clarinets built, our records have around a dozen to represent these.

It's still a pretty thin slice at this point and I am not going to state with any more confidence than the current record supports when the date of manufacture might be in that part of the production. We have a very good idea what the dates were very early after WW1, perhaps projecting those into the early 1930s at least. After that, it gets pretty fuzzy until we begin to see some serials with military marks indicating WW2 and the Korean conflict. The problem is, those serials don't belong to any Empire models. So we have 15,000+ Empires to distribute over a period of 25 to 30 years about. We don't have much information that could tell us how many were made in any one of those given years, so even guessing at the distribution would be pre-mature.

I wish I could do better and in time as we add more numbers and other information, such as that this was was with another instruments of a particular period, we will be able to come closer matching dates. If this had been one of the highest serials, I could say that's probably 1955 or '56. I could certainly narrow it to a 5 year period.

I have the same problem with H-127-B, which is one of mine. It has a different key shape than yours, but has the same markings and also has a wooden bell. It's the earliest Empire on the list with the serials running along the key work, but when is "early"? I don't like to guess when I don't have the information to back it up.

Looking at the bell, I'd leave that alone. It looks very nice. Here again, with 15,000 plus instruments, we need at least 150 Empires just to have 1%. We have about a dozen. What we have can sketch things out at best very vaguely. Even so, it is a far better picture of the production periods than we had before this got started, and again, your contribution added another piece needed in completing the puzzle. You might check this thread periodically. I update the list with 3 to 4 new serials almost monthly. In a year it might look a little more complete. I am confident that over time, we will have enough numbers with date stake examples to set the dates with more accuracy.

Were you able to find a serial list for the Elkhart saxophone? My guess is that these were probably made around the same time.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on July 31, 2017, 12:05:11 PM
The only info on the Elkhart sax is between 1930-1938 because it's marked as Elkhart Band Instrument Co and no other manufacturer engraving, so it fits in the time period with the Empire. I have a couple of other clarinets I can't find info about that I will start a thread for in the next day or so. I don't have any recognition (yet) of the styles of different manufacturers so I hope that you (or others on the list) may be able to help identify them  ;)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 02, 2017, 07:02:00 PM
Found another PM on ebay while browsing that I thought might help with the timeline :

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Penzel-Mueller-Bb-Artist-Clarinet-w-extras-totally-refurbished-2014-/222600715992?hash=item33d4095ed8:g:hpEAAOSwSdFZgdaI


And then there's this : A Penzel with no Mueller?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/G-Penzel-New-York-Professional-clarinet-SN-U-7166-/162579116475?hash=item25da7871bb:g:BLkAAOSwuMZZA-pP
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 02, 2017, 08:15:15 PM
G. Penzel was their student line post WW2. It's still a Penzel-Mueller. Some of the G. Penzel marked ones were imported, but not all of them. The serialization is generally similar, running along the keys. Thank you for the additions.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 02, 2017, 09:27:24 PM
I suddenly have Penzel Muellers jumping out at me from the interwebs!!!...or maybe I'm just noticing them more now  ???

These all have pics and list at least a portion of the serial number which I cross-checked against the list so I hope this is helping and not causing unnecessary work with no payoff. At this rate you'll have every one ever made on the list within a week or two  :o

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/antique-clarinet-penzel-muller-172566901

https://reverb.com/item/4665687-penzel-mueller-artist-1940c-black?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_sv0vIu61QIVFyWBCh3ZNQqqEAQYASABEgLDb_D_BwE&pla=1

http://doctorsaxwoodwinds.com/shop/archives/penzel-mueller-studio-recording-clarinet/

https://picclick.com/Vintage-Rare-Penzel-Mueller-Clarinet-France-7967b-192158142450.html

https://reverb.com/item/5351238-penzel-mueller-soloist-clarinet-1940-s-era-rosewood?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_sv0vIu61QIVFyWBCh3ZNQqqEAQYAyABEgI0CfD_BwE&pla=1

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/clarinet-penzel-mueller-brilliante-198156926

http://doctorsax.biz/pm_c_clar.htm

https://picclick.com/Vintage-Penzel-Mueller-Pacemaker-Clarinet-5221B-172652077581.html

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/penzel-mueller-empire-clarinet-245925006

https://reverb.com/item/1655639-vintage-penzel-mueller-artist-model-wood-bb-clarinet-in-it-s-original-case-ready-to-pl-ay

http://www.clarinetpages.net/vintage-odd-brands/penzel-mueller/penzel-mueller-empire    (this page has 2 with serial #s I didn't see on the list)

http://stanshorns.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-handsome-penzel-mueller-clarinet.html

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-penzel-mueller-york-clarinet-1844526314

https://reverb.com/item/573326-vintage-penzel-mueller-grenadilla-wood-bb-clarinet-in-it-s-original-case-and-nice-as-is

http://www.doctorsax.biz/PenzelMueller_FullBoehm_Clarinet.htm  (the serial # may be "958" but there is no clear pic of the full number)

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/penzel-mueller-empire-vintage-bb-424207051

This one doesn't have serial #s but I thought you could glean some info from it :
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pre-1899-set-bb-clarinet-albert-290321256

So, were these helpful? If so I'll go surfing hard again next time I have some time to kill.  :)


Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 03, 2017, 04:32:19 PM
Whole serial numbers are much better for these purposes. Can you narrow it down to the ones that have complete serial numbers?  ;D

I know there are quite a few unique and interesting instruments from before WW1 that have no serial numbers. Those are interesting for sure and in some cases those get a thread of their own.

Un-serialized instruments will not help much with dating the ones with serial numbers, which was the primary purpose of this thread.

We can date the unserialized ones to the years prior to 1914-ish going back to about 1898. The way the imprint was made over those years changed some, so during those years they can be roughly divided into groups and dated based on the way the imprint is made. In the beginning it was just G. Penzel and Bro. I think. Then when Mueller first partnered, the spelling was Müller. For a while they were also located in the Bowery instead of Long Island City, so there are some good ways to estimate the dates of the earliest instruments to within about 5 years. At the beginning of WW1 they partnered with Pruefer and that appears to be when the serialization began. At the end of the war, both companies continued the same sequential serialization separately. So those earliest instruments with no serials are actually not so much of a problem to guesstimate the date.

I also haven't accumulated enough metal Penzel-Mueller examples to include a section on these yet. I think I have seen fewer than a half dozen and most serials were not reported. I might have two or three serials on record for these and it's anyone's guess right now where they might fit.

The real problem with partial serials is that ii introduces fuzzy edges and encourages duplicate inclusions or several omissions.

If, for instance, two numbers at the end are missing, then we can't distinguish that clarinet from 98 others. What if we get two numbers that match and we don't know what the last two digits are on either of them? For the purposes here, 2 clarinets became the same one if that happens. If there are 3 digits missing then we can't distinguish it from 998 others. And if it comes up for sale twice with different pictures and the same missing serial digits, we might end up recording it twice.

It is preferable for the list to be made up of fewer serial examples that are complete than to begin to introduce partial serials just to get the number of instruments higher. That way when we find a meaningful document that nails a serial to a more exact date, we know right where that line occurs, like the 1927 sales receipt.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 03, 2017, 08:27:42 PM
Whole serial numbers are much better for these purposes. Can you narrow it down to the ones that have complete serial numbers?  ;D

Most of them were complete and I thought I left metal ones out of it completely. There were only one or two where the lister had x's at the send of the number...I HATE it when they do that  >:(

So....did any make the list? Or did I just waste a ton of your time?  ???




Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 04, 2017, 09:11:40 AM
You have not wasted my time, primarily because I haven't spent it yet, and now I know it will be worth spending.  :) 

Any interest, any assistance, any new information is greatly appreciated.

Right now I have a very slow internet connection, something a little worse than my first dial up account. That is primarily because I do not have (even in the heart of downtown Atlanta) a utility pole adjacent to my workshop and with the demise of the CLEAR wireless network, I am connecting via a data cable and an Audiovox 8900 that Verizon barely continues to support. It was the fastest phone-as-modem available when it was introduced, but Verizon has downgraded its' capabilities and would rather sell me a stupid "smart-phone" than support the device that I already own. I simply refuse to upgrade to something "new" when something old is still functioning perfectly.

I am in many ways off-the-grid. Loading numerous high resolution photos has to be a very selective practice at this moment, and mostly I do that from a wifi coffee shop a few times a week using an iPad, which is too late in production to be compatible with my now ancient 2009 iMac (Steve Jobs, RIP!). So digital data arriving and leaving my hard drive is like watching oil paint dry. Many times the slow connection is broken before a moderate size file can even transfer.

If any one is wasting my time, it is Verizon Wireless, and I have no problem pointing the finger straight at them. They do not service devices that they have already sold. They divide the digital wireless bandwidth into various categories and sell it a la carte at an egregiously high mark up. Therefore what they get from me is the bare minimum for the bare minimum. I had to re-connect twice to post this response.

That being the case, I maintain a master file of serials on my iMac and I update the list here about once a month. If it doesn't happen immediately, rest assured that the links you have provided will be looked at and the serials added all in good time. There are a good number of others I have added to my list here that are not in this thread yet, including two Super Brilliante models, a few more Empires, and of course the Professional you indicated, which I have seen, and a few others.

My hard drive contains well over 600 photographs of Penzel Mueller clarinets with well documented serials of the clarinets that are in those photos. I do have a back-up (Time Machine) drive as well in case the main drive fails. 

Again, your contributions are greatly appreciated, but it might take a little while to digest and publish these.  :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Airflyte on August 04, 2017, 09:24:10 AM
Sorcerer, your eloquent reply reminds me of a song I like from Jared Bartman. If you don't care for the music you may appreciate the lyrics!  The song is titled ' I Refute Technology'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guyHgKXh0kI

   
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 04, 2017, 10:00:00 AM
Sorcerer, your eloquent reply reminds me of a song I like from Jared Bartman. If you don't care for the music you may appreciate the lyrics!  The song is titled ' I Refute Technology'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guyHgKXh0kI

 

I'll be sure to enjoy that later today with my ear-buds on the patio of Aurora Coffee shop in Little Five Points.  ;)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 04, 2017, 04:42:22 PM
Penzel Mueller serials
Muller sp. #775 Eb LP Albert 2-ring USQMC

PM Artist 13888

Studio Recording Serial Number is SR3535B France

????? Model 7967B France

Soloist Serial 6990B

BRILLIANTE MODEL-M4533B-VINTAGE

9031-C hand serialized Boehm 17/6

Pacemaker Clarinet 5221B

PENZEL MUELLER "EMPIRE " CLARINET - EARLY SERIAL NUMBER OF H-977-B

Supr Brilliante SM 8846B

Empire SERIAL NO. H-977-B

.... will be added soon. I skipped those without full serials.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 04, 2017, 07:57:20 PM
Woo-hoo! I helped add 11 to the timeline!!! I matter!!!!     ;D

(Always looking for validation. I am, after all, a musician...lol)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: bbrandha on August 05, 2017, 12:22:24 PM
Just got my P-M in the key of A back. Serial # 8937. I do not know any history on it.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 05, 2017, 03:44:33 PM
Just got my P-M in the key of A back. Serial # 8937. I do not know any history on it.

To start with, it's older than dirt.....

No, truly, that one is pretty easy to place. See page 2 of this thread for the serial list. It falls close to the 1927 sales receipt.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 06, 2017, 04:01:00 PM
Got 2 more for the list  ;D

Here's a Bel Canto just added:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Penzel-Mueller-Bel-Canto-Wood-Clarinet-Nice-Condition-Ready-to-Play-/202012349345?hash=item2f08dfd3a1:g:yZgAAOSwlxhZh39T

And an eefer:

http://www.motorcycle-memories.com/store/Old-Rare-Penzel-Mueller-Alert-System-E-eb-Soprano-Clarinet-Pre-Wwii_292081595361.html


Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 06, 2017, 04:28:14 PM
That's a really nice Bel Canto and ready to play. It extends the known numbers of those produced by a couple hundred. That is the rarest of the top models. Sweet!  :)
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 06, 2017, 06:20:16 PM
What can I say? I'm on a mission. A monster has been created (or just transmuted to a narrower focus...lol)  :o
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 06, 2017, 07:00:38 PM
Like I said, a monster has been created....

Great pics of this one:
http://www.ebay.fr/itm/WOODEN-CLARINET-PENZEL-MUELLER-ARTIST-MODEL-EARLY-20thC-GOOD-QUALITY-INSTRUMENT-/351961437161?hash=item51f28953e9:g:GIUAAOSwt5hYgSj3



Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 06, 2017, 09:18:56 PM
Flat rings marked "Sterling". Monster findings, I'll agree with that.  :)
Please, keep it up! I'm enthused by your enthusiasm.

I wonder if those are original rings. I have seen a few Brilliantes with silver plated metal throughout, but not anything with solid silver. It looks like the keys are nickel-silver or perhaps they just have almost no oxidation. Typically older silver will have a brownish tint, sometimes with darker spots.

I'm wondering which country that one sold to. Sometimes American musical instruments bring higher prices on the international market, like perhaps Americans aren't quite aware of the quality of the USA built instruments. One has to wonder, but I have always felt that USA built clarinets are under rated in the USA.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 09, 2017, 06:57:46 AM
Here's one more for you. There are a ton of pictures, including one of the serial : L3388 (I can't see a B on the end no matter how much I enlarge the pic). What do you think?

https://reverb.com/item/4665687-penzel-mueller-artist-1940c-black

Addendum : The seller emailed me back "It is tough to read, but it's L3388. There is no B at the end, but there is one stamped above the PM emblem on the other piece."  Curious, eh?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 09, 2017, 07:43:18 AM
The photos are still loading.....  Watching oil paint dry. Could be loaded by supper time.....

I'm going to take a guess that the "L3888" is actually L388B, and perhaps misread? Even with a small sample, it seems too high for an L Artist number. There was a PM on ebay that the reported serial seemed way high for the model and when I looked at the photo of the serial the last 8 reported was indeed a B. It could happen twice if it happened once. This would put it post WW2. One thing we know for sure is that the Brilliante model was introduced post WW2, and it took the M designation away from the earlier Artist model. There are some claims, logically supported that the "new" model was actually the "L" Artist, and the Brilliante was actually the same as the "M" Artist model. Meet the new number 2? Oh, wow, I finally got the serial photo loaded...

OK, all that above is wrong. And this is why we have to see photos of the actual serials and the locations of them. That is not L3888. It is 13888. It's one of the Artist models with the original numerical serial sequence and can't be later than the mid 1930s before the serial format changed and the location changed. Nice addition, but without that clear photo of the serial and basing it on the seller's reported serial, it would be a mistake in the list. So it will go on the list;- oops! It's already on the list.  ::)

Thanks anyway, but that's the kind of stuff we have to watch out for when adding these. The wear and tear on the serials sometimes causes mistakes reading them and the sellers that pay attention to this thread, and some do, kind of pay half-attention to it. An L is always an Artist, but an Artist is not always an L.

Have you checked out that bass Artist that is listed now? There again a serial is reported, but the number shown in the photos seems completely unrelated to the reported number. I'd love to put that bass on the list, but I have no idea where to put it.

And I am near certain that the hand serialized C Boehm is out of place. There's a lot wrong with the way that one looks and is built. The name marks on the bell and body are the same style as the 1950s models. The way the serial is located is as if it is the second sequence not the first, and then there is the shared lever post for the LH5 keys. Typically we think of a shared post in that location belonging to a clarinet from the 1920s or before, but Penzel Mueller Boehm clarinets had separate posts as early as 1915. 9031-C has to be some kind of strange prototype or custom one-off. And the marks on it would make it a 1950s clarinet, not one from the 1920s. I think they just picked a number and hand did that one to have a record of it. The way it is made and serialized is truly unique.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 09, 2017, 07:59:58 AM
Whoops. Sorry about that  :o

Where is the Bass Artist that you mentioned?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 09, 2017, 08:04:46 AM
Addendum : The seller emailed me back "It is tough to read, but it's L3388. There is no B at the end, but there is one stamped above the PM emblem on the other piece."  Curious, eh?

The B is not curious at all really, now that we know it is 13888. The B is what key the clarinet plays in, Bb. Thats how the early marks are. To understand the serialization and how it changed and how the marks change and the locations of them, one really has to study the list carefully and look at what is there, and of course links to photos would help, but this needs to be selectively done because linking to over 600 photos would be prodigious and it really only takes a few to explain the progression of changes in the serial practice.

Take a look at the notes on Penzel Mueller # H13163B Empire State ("B" above model name, original serial locations, B serial suffix, early key type, early thumb rest, block letter style embossing, bell and barrel missing)
Then look at this one: Penzel Mueller Empire # H13864B (serial in first locations on the backs of the joints, script Empire logo, composite bell, lifter type levers, not pin-in-hole). What do you make of that? Those two numbers appear to be in sequence with only a few hundred instruments in between. It narrows down the point where the H Empire State became the Empire. Some people claim it's not the same model. Really? An H is an H, in my alphabet, but call it what you like.

Anyway, you can see how useful a small sample is. Often times all you need is a couple of numbers to land and then you get a fine line at one of the transition points. Then luck will give you some nail to hang the date upon.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 09, 2017, 10:16:31 AM
Whoops. Sorry about that  :o

Where is the Bass Artist that you mentioned?

No apology necessary. When I checked my files, I only have this serial. Apparently the previous photos were only good enough to confirm the serial and I didn't save any of those. This newer listing on Reverb has superb photos despite the error on the serial and it gives me several good views of a 7-ring articulated from this period, and eventually the changes in those kind of features will allow us to "spot" date examples even if the serials have been erased or worn away. This in NOT the same 7-ring mechanism that was used by PM during or just after the partnership with Pruefer.

We can separate the wheat from the chaff here. Don't stop harvesting.  :)

Do enough research and you can take this project over and I'll get on with figuring out the Bettoney serials. I went for PM first because not only was my best player at the time an Empire of undetermined date, but this was a company with relatively low production numbers and probably they made no stenciled instruments at all. These will always be relatively more rare than other USA makers that engaged in almost mass production. And then there is also Pruefer to decipher, which looks far more straight forward. We need all the good intelligence agents we can get here.  8)

H. Bettoney might have made more woodwinds than Selmer USA up to the time they disappeared and the stencils are numerous and serialized like the ones carrying the Bettoney name. That said, the system for serialization at Bettoney is daunting.

Harry Pedlers are more rare than Penzel Mueller clarinets but most have NO serials. Thanks, Harry! Pedler Woodwind serials is another puzzle. And then there are the Bertelings;- I might have seen about 5 of these that weren't already in collections.

The Penzel Mueller bass? No reason not to disclose where it is, it's been "discovered" and ends on a Sunday.  :-\

While the reported serial is quite plausible, I am trying to be very careful. You might note that I did include a few serials with some blanks in them, but these were only very rare model types and far less likely to introduce confusion than a mistake on a more common 17/6 Boehm Bb. I thought it better to record the rare model partial serial than leave it out, so I have made some rare exceptions to the rule, but only concerning a rare model.

I'm saving some of the photos of the bass, and if we find another bass with a similar serial reported that looks like this one, I might decide to insert it with the reported serial at that time.

Concerning the chances on that currently listed bass, don't bring a knife to a gun fight as they say...  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Penzel-Mueller-Wood-Bass-Clarinet-Serial-L10043-W-Mouthpiece-Case-/162617628350?hash=item25dcc416be:g:XhwAAOSwQQdZhOHl

I'm not in that auction.  The winner will probably be a sniper using a bazooka.   :o
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 09, 2017, 10:57:23 AM

Do enough research and you can take this project over and I'll get on with figuring out the Bettoney serials.

Harry Pedlers are more rare than Penzel Mueller clarinets but most have NO serials. Thanks, Harry! Pedler Woodwind serials is another puzzle.

I don't have near enough experience or expertise to ever take this project over. I'm a good sleuth with great focus but that's it. Happy to be a net-surfing grunt :) 

Ruh-roh. You're working on Bettoney and Pedler, too? I currently have one Pedler in hand  (serial E33152) and another Pedler and a Bettoney on the way. Guess I'll be taking pictures of mine and sending them to you soon. Do you have a post dedicated to them on here as well?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 09, 2017, 11:11:07 AM
Please report the Pedler information to Windsong here. See the thread already underway. Given the high number of views of this PM serial thread, obviously undocumented serial threads are useful to someone out there in cyberspace. Instead of sending me photo files of the Bettoneys, please initiate a thread here and begin saving the photos to a backed up hard drive.

Like I indicated earlier, we can sort it out and revise it once we have it in the basket. If you look at the page 1 list in this thread, you will see how all that happened and yielded a far more refined result. You don't have to spend a great deal of time. Build it and they will come, we'll sort it out as it arrives.

While we are at it, I think I should try to clear up or muddy up the situation with that hand serialized C Boehm. There was a previous early one and it illustrates the differences in the markings. It also has a shared LH5 lever post, and it is not a 7 ring articulated type. Note that this other one is a partial serial, but such a rare type, I think confusion is unlikely. A hand inscribed serial and a partial serial of two rare C Boehm models? Some photos of the two:
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 09, 2017, 11:19:22 AM
I don't have near enough experience or expertise to ever take this project over. I'm a good sleuth with great focus but that's it. Happy to be a net-surfing grunt :) 

"Experience" is the result of making mistakes and learning from them, and perseverance in spite of them. One must start somewhere. Expertise? Credentials? Oh, please.... :-X
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 11, 2017, 06:57:08 AM
So what do you make of this???

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Penzel-Mueller-jean-aubert-Wood-Clarinet-/263138022601?hash=item3d443f94c9

And here's another one : serial M5898-B

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Penzel-Mueller-Brilliante-Clarinet-Excellent-Condition-Classic-Buffet-Case-/222606764754?hash=item33d465aad2:g:dCkAAOSw1BlZXW3P

And another : serial # H14630-B...with a case that sports a sticker from 1953...leading me to believe (obviously) that the date of manufacture would be prior to that. Good enough for a sort-of date stake?

https://www.globalgaragesale.net/itemlisting.aspx?item=159809

Last one for today : Another Bel Canto. The seller claims serial # 5486B, but none of the pics show it, so....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-PENZEL-MEULER-BEL-CANTO-CLARINET-ARTIST-MODEL-MP-NICE-/322644924709?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 11, 2017, 08:24:23 AM
Strange on that first link. It looks like a J3380B. Where are the other J serials? If there were 3000+, seems like we'd have seen another one by now. The A/G# arrangement is very atypical and the trill guide is very heavy, also atypical. The marks with the circle and overlaid PM I have seen on other PM clarinets that were more typical. My Bel Canto has a mark like that. You don't see that mark too often but it is on some other Penzel Mueller clarinets.

It's fairly obvious where they got the "J" serial letter, less obvious where this might have been made, and far less obvious how many of these there actually are. So far, I've seen this one. Good find, although I did see the listing, just hadn't looked at the photos until now.

There are three possible candidates I could easily find for Jean Aubert, all prominent French people. One is an architect that died in the 18th C. Another is an engineer, died in 1984, and the last one is a popular French singer song writer that played a guitar, born in 1955. With Penzel Mueller production ending about 1956, we might want to rule out the songwriter.

The engineer guy is far more interesting to contemplate: "Jean Aubert was a French engineer. In 1961 he used the idea of the German engineer Julius Greve from the last century to describe a pente d'eau, (English: water slope) which was a way of moving boats up the gradient of a canal without locks." - Wikipedia

Frenchman, "borrows" a German idea that by force causes water to flow up-hill? That's elegant.  ;D

I'm thinking it's the architect / artiste fellow. That fits the typical French stencil brand tradition. It also looks like it could be a jab by Penzel-Mueller (NOT Frenchmen) at the practice of ambiguous French names appearing on clarinets. Where are the country of origin marks on that one? That would be my question if I could only ask one. The seller says US and of course it is marked New York, but so are most of the ones that also are marked France. The case is marked PM, but that case looks like a French case from about 1950. That type of handle on a rectangular box is typical of Malernes and other French clarinets.

You asked what I thought?

The Brilliante is completely typical of Brilliantes made for the US military, marked on the bell "US", and fits into the "M" series PM clarinets and extends backward that part of the serial sequence assumed to be parallel to the Korean conflict. That puts us closer to marking the 1950 beginning of that era of production. While the military might have ordered the clarinets in advance of 1950 or ordered more after 1953 has to be considered, but the date range of those Brilliantes marked US is definitely in the era of the Korean conflict. Somewhere between M5497B and M5898B is the date 1950, and finding 5898 narrows the window by about 300 Brilliante models. Of course it tells us nothing about Empires, Bel Cantos, or the other models because these weren't preferred by the military.


Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 11, 2017, 12:15:19 PM
I follow your reasoning and have no quarrel with any of it. I guess we'll have to see a boatload more Jean Auberts to know more. Add another letter prefix to the timeline...lol :)

SO what about serial # H14630-B with it's stickered case? You didn't tell me your thoughts on that one....
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 11, 2017, 02:33:21 PM
There is a photo of the Bel Canto serial;- no prefix.

The Empire is a high serial, so 1953 is plausible, so how long did they play before going to Allstate? It's worth adding to narrow the information toward the end of production. I don't remember too much about Allstate. 3 yrs ?  Good endorsement of the instrument. It won't prevent you from making allstate.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 11, 2017, 07:48:29 PM
Huh. Don't know how I missed the pic with the serial number. Time for new glasses, maybe...
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 11, 2017, 09:26:10 PM
Maybe we could contact the store that sold the Empire and see if they have a dated record of the sale? What do you say? "Hey, when did you sell a Penzel Mueller Empire serial H14603B to Kathleen at 15 Elmwood Avenue? Check your sales and warranty records from 1948 to 1953."

https://mcclellanmusic.wordpress.com/about/
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 11, 2017, 09:40:31 PM
I e-mailed McClellan's just now. Here's what I said:

"A group of vintage clarinet fans at ClarinetPages forum is trying to establish a Penzel Mueller clarinet serial number time line. Recently a PM Empire model serial # H14630B appeared online for sale in a case with your medallion on it with a 1953 allstate band sticker on the case and the name Kathleen, and her address, 15 Elmwood Avenue. We wondered if you might have a dated record of the sale and perhaps know if it was a used or new instrument that was purchased. Any information is helpful. Thank-you."
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 11, 2017, 10:27:22 PM
Wouldn't it be great if they actually responded positively to the email?
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on August 16, 2017, 06:41:58 AM
I decided to go ahead and include a separate section with Penzel Mueller metal clarinets and serials of these, even though I still have so few numbers. The recent appearance of a full Boehm double walled model, the Clari-met, which is extremely rare, is worth a feature post. These are a few of the seller's photos:
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on August 16, 2017, 09:07:23 PM
Found one more with pics and serial :

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PENZEL-MULLER-OHLER-SYSTEM-B-FLAT-WOOD-CLARINET-10470/182719923873

Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on September 07, 2017, 12:12:17 AM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-ANTIQUE-CLARINET-FLUTE-MUSICAL-INSTRUMENT-PARTS-OR-REPAIR-/162662387963?hash=item25df6f10fb:g:KGEAAOSwFdJZsEiU

Here is one you folks might be interested in. It's got some extra keywork which is nice. and the starting bid is pretty darn low.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 07, 2017, 06:39:28 PM
That's classy. I could see that one restored. It looks like all the bones are good. I'm pretty sure it is high pitch but it's also pre-serial number era, when the company was mostly doing its' own thing.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Jimmyjamms on September 10, 2017, 12:51:40 AM
I have acquired a clarinet and while researching I came across this website.  I am trying to find out info on the clarinet as well as give you the info to add to your timeline.

The Clarinet Info:

Serial#:  7688. (possibly)
LP
B

This is what I was able to make out.

I am a guitar player, so I do not know much about this.

Your help and feedback would be much appreciated.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on September 10, 2017, 07:53:38 AM
It would be a great help if you included pics of the instrument, especially of any logos, stamping, and serial number. Looking forward to getting as look at her and welcome to the original Clarinet Pages!
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Silversorcerer on September 10, 2017, 10:07:31 AM

I have acquired a clarinet and while researching I came across this website.  I am trying to find out info on the clarinet as well as give you the info to add to your timeline.

The Clarinet Info:

Serial#:  7688. (possibly)
LP
B

This is what I was able to make out.

I am a guitar player, so I do not know much about this.

Your help and feedback would be much appreciated.


If that is the correct serial, it fits with LP B models, and would have been made during the mid-late 1920s. Of course it could be an Albert or a Boehm system, might have some other features that are not standard that were being made at that time that would be interesting to see. I would also like to see some photos. You can cover all sides of the instrument with just 3 photos if you lay the joints side by side and rotate the joints as you take the photos. Just shoot them straight on, boring and documentary style, no dramatic angles. If you can get a sharp close up of the serial, sometimes numbers that are difficult to see with the eye are better revealed by a camera.

Right around that serial you have, there was a change in the key work from an offset front register port to a rear register port. I am still wondering if this was an abrupt change or if it was something that was done both ways for a while. The more examples we see from the mid to late 20's, the closer we can pin point when that detail was changed. Eventually all the makers switched to rear register ports (except the German system makers). I'm interested in knowing if Penzel Mueller was leading or trailing in that trend.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: DaveLeBlanc on September 10, 2017, 03:25:27 PM
Thanks for your comments about the shift from front register to rear register.
I think this is a good time to showcase one of my rarest clarinets, a Penzel Mueller full Boehm A.

The register key here is a little bit to the side, and is not directly in the front as was common in the early days. I wonder if this is a transitional design or something.
Serial number is a fairly low 6839.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: noneyet on October 09, 2017, 09:09:34 PM
Here is a magazine ad featured on an ebay auction, in case y'all didn't get to see it
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: woodwindfanatic on March 15, 2018, 11:19:31 AM
I just recently acquired another Penzel-Mueller clarinet, this time in the Albert system (my go-to clarinet is a Brilliante, ser. no. M4047, in the Boehm system), that has the following interesting and unusual features:
     1)   The barrel and both keyed joints are marked with the eagle with the downturned wings, with an oval underneath.  At the upper part of the oval it is marked G.L. Penzel, at the lower part is is marked New York, and straight across in the center of the oval it is marked Mueller in a different script.  The three parts are also marked with a B, but there are no markings relating to pitch, such as HP or LP.  The bell is unmarked and I believe it was made by someone other than Penzel-Mueller;
     2)   There is no serial number anywhere on the instrument;
     3)   The key rollers are coral colored, as opposed to the black rollers typically seen on Penzel-Mueller Albert system clarinets;
     4)   The wood of the barrel and keyed joints appears to be rosewood- at any rate, it has a color, figure and grain that I have never seen with grenadilla.
I was told by the seller that her grandfather played this clarinet in a vaudeville band in the era before World War I.  Based on this information and the characteristics above, I am thinking this is a late 19th century instrument, possibly one of the very first Penzel-Muellers.  I would welcome anyone's thoughts on the matter.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Windsong on March 15, 2018, 04:10:21 PM
I am no P-M expert, but based upon what I'm hearing, and what I know of conventional "cautious" knowledge on Gustav Penzel and Edward Mueller (Iwan Müller's grandson), I do not believe your clarinet is quite as old as you have been led to believe.  Details are sketchy about the aforementioned men's affiliation with one another prior to 1920, but it is known that while both were German immigrants, they first joined forces whilst living in France.  It would seem that most historians on the matter decisively conclude that these gents did not begin making clarinets in New York until at least 1920.  The fact that yours is marked "New York" is testament to the notion that it was not their first collaborative effort, though it may have been one of their first on this side of the pond.  SilverSorcerer lists date stamp of June 1927 for S/N 9934--an Albert, so it seems yours might well be from 1920, or shortly thereafter.  We'd love to see photos so we can examine the keywork, when you are able.
In any event, your new clarinet sounds special, and probably quite valuable--both physically and intrinsically.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: woodwindfanatic on March 15, 2018, 04:53:06 PM
Thank you for your input Windsong!  As soon as I can figure out how to post some decent photos (I am new to this website, but an old guy in everything else), I will do so.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: Windsong on March 15, 2018, 08:46:45 PM
After more research this evening, I can honestly say that seldom have I seen such conflicting information on one manufacturer from the pseudo-modern area on the interwebs, and I will not further complicate things by attempting to interpret and sift through unsubstantiated edicts.
Several websites (one, a German site--even) document Gustav Ludwig Penzel's lifespan as 1855/1856-1920.  If this is correct, unless his name was added to New York-made clarinets posthumously, Penzel and Mueller would have had to begin U.S.-based collaboration prior to 1920, and the 1899 date gains traction.   It appears you have your work cut out for you, regarding the determination of a legitimate date, and it may involve knowing or learning German, or getting cozy with translation websites.
Can't wait to see photos.  Perhaps we can begin to compare keywork on your clarinet, and develop a timeframe based upon that.
It has been said that the early P-M clarinets were more German in their keywork than conventionally Albert, and this may unveil some of the mystery surrounding the poorly documented early years.
Title: Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
Post by: WyldHardt on May 14, 2019, 05:19:05 PM
Hello, I apologize a head of time for posting on an older thread. I am looking for some insights on a clarinet that my wife's grandfather passed down to our daughter. It's a Penzel Muller stamped New York inside a dotted oval. There is an Eagle above the oval and a B above that. Further up is L.P. Serial is 10263. Our daughter is starting out on the Clarinet and don't know if this instrument is something she should be taking to school. Any insights would be helpful.