Author Topic: Who was Henry Gunckel?  (Read 2723 times)

Offline Silversorcerer

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Who was Henry Gunckel?
« on: April 21, 2017, 08:55:18 PM »
Odd name, Henry Gunckel. It was on one of the first two clarinets I played, a 4-ring Albert system.

The most common French spelling is Henri but M. Gunckel spelled in Henry. The question arises most often with stencil names;- assumed to be fictions usually, or ... maybe we just don't know who they were, mostly we know that these are not names of musical instrument makers. With no better record than rumor, we decide it must be a made up name;- a kind of marketing fiction. If the name were chosen to evoke France, it seems that the spelling would be Henri not Henry. It doesn't quite fit the French clarinet marketing scheme. But there it is over and over;- Henry Gunckel, Paris.

So was there ever a person in Paris named Henry Gunckel? If there was, what did he do? When did he do it? Why is his name on so many musical instruments including clarinets?

I found one record of M. Henry Gunckel. It appears that he was a bureaucrat of sorts;- in Paris;- in 1877 or thereabouts. He was a "commissionaire-negociant";- a commissioner of commerce in the 9th district. Commerce? Exports?  ???

https://books.google.com/books?id=fictAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA4-PA51&lpg=RA4-PA51&dq=Henry+Gunckel+peintre&source=bl&ots=ptqjT7kRPJ&sig=tH4qxk9tb8vwe7RxWP2UakrynzM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiyia-S5LbTAhVKxYMKHQDqC60Q6AEIFDAA#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Gunckel%20peintre&f=false
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 07:24:36 AM »
With no better record than rumor, we decide it must be a made up name;- a kind of marketing fiction. If the name were chosen to evoke France, it seems that the spelling would be Henri not Henry.

I don't have an answer but I sure can add to the conundrum.
Enter: Henri Farny - a 2 ring hard rubber Albert with a rather short (63mm) barrel. Needs a refurb but just look at those thumb screws for the lig!
The upper joint has the same logo as the bell. Sure does sound French.

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Offline modernicus

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 07:32:08 AM »
Odd name, Henry Gunckel. It was on one of the first two clarinets I played, a 4-ring Albert system.

The most common French spelling is Henri but M. Gunckel spelled in Henry. The question arises most often with stencil names;- assumed to be fictions usually, or ... maybe we just don't know who they were, mostly we know that these are not names of musical instrument makers. With no better record than rumor, we decide it must be a made up name;- a kind of marketing fiction. If the name were chosen to evoke France, it seems that the spelling would be Henri not Henry. It doesn't quite fit the French clarinet marketing scheme. But there it is over and over;- Henry Gunckel, Paris.

So was there ever a person in Paris named Henry Gunckel? If there was, what did he do? When did he do it? Why is his name on so many musical instruments including clarinets?

I found one record of M. Henry Gunckel. It appears that he was a bureaucrat of sorts;- in Paris;- in 1877 or thereabouts. He was a "commissionaire-negociant";- a commissioner of commerce in the 9th district. Commerce? Exports?  ???

https://books.google.com/books?id=fictAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA4-PA51&lpg=RA4-PA51&dq=Henry+Gunckel+peintre&source=bl&ots=ptqjT7kRPJ&sig=tH4qxk9tb8vwe7RxWP2UakrynzM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiyia-S5LbTAhVKxYMKHQDqC60Q6AEIFDAA#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Gunckel%20peintre&f=false

I've seen Henry Gunckels going back well into the 19th century, so very plausible that a commerce bureaucrat was also a businessman that sold/exported instruments stencilled with his name.  Probably a decent business to be in at the time and place.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 08:50:45 AM »
While I am the eternal skeptic, not inclined to explanations that come too easily, it is extremely plausible that Gunckel was a broker between one or more La Couture-Boussey makers and at least the Lyon & Healy American distributor. If this is the case, at least part of the mystery of this brand is uncovered.

Google is a bizarre un-seen hand when it comes to research aid. Early searches I did produced nothing but examples of the instruments. Later searches produced more, and eventually the latest search went deep into scanned OCR archived public records. That is the depth of the haystack. It is as if the search engine continues to work in the background long after (days or even months) the initial search results are produced. Lyon & Healy still is in operation building harps and importing some models from other countries. I wonder how complete their historic import contract records are? It must be there if they still have the records.
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Offline Tinker73

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 09:38:45 AM »
I think we all just need to accept the fact that Henry Gunckel was the illegitimate child of Denis Buffet - Auger!  Instead of inheriting the fame of the Buffet Crampon name, he inherited something much better.  He inherited the enigma of a line of clarinets that 100 years later is still baffling "clarinerds" around the world as to who the "makers" were and who was Henry Gunckel.  What better legacy could anyone ask for, that after over 100 years you are still talked about on forums across the internet with as much speculation as Henry Gunckel and his clarinets!

By the way, this theory also explains the whole "Buffet - Gunckel" connection that everyone trying to sell a Henry Gunckel clarinet insists on making!

On a serious note, I'm still doing research on Henry Gunckel, the clarinets that bore his name & the makers that made them.  I do think when the pieces all come together it will be a very interesting story indeed, and is going to include some of the top makers of the period, just none made by Buffet to this point (apparently the Buffets wanted nothing to do with this illegitimate son!)
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 09:19:32 PM »
That lig is bohemian.  I have several of them.
Solid pieces...

With no better record than rumor, we decide it must be a made up name;- a kind of marketing fiction. If the name were chosen to evoke France, it seems that the spelling would be Henri not Henry.

I don't have an answer but I sure can add to the conundrum.
Enter: Henri Farny - a 2 ring hard rubber Albert with a rather short (63mm) barrel. Needs a refurb but just look at those thumb screws for the lig!
The upper joint has the same logo as the bell. Sure does sound French.
The Clarinet Pages forum court jester, and expert bubblegum welder.

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 06:00:03 AM »
I think we can safely speculate that Henri Farny clarinets were named after the French-American painter, Henri François Farny. This parallels Guy Renne, Paul Dujardin, Jules Legris, and other stencils named for various French artists who were better known around the turn of the century.

Gunckel is certainly the odd case.

I have one complete Farny example, also an Albert that is similarly marked on the bell (nearly obscured by deep scratches) and the upper joint. That one is marked Heri Farny & Cie, as if there really was a company, but there is no record of such a company in New Langwell. Perhaps the "& Cie" refers to the USA Wurlitzer company that distributed Farny branded clarinets?

I obtained the Farny along with an F. Delarue A Albert (in very rough condition) and F. Delarue is another enigma brand. Some sources identify François Delarue as a maker, others as a stencil. Complicating the matter is the concept of "stencil heaven". A good number of actual makers appear to die only to be reborn as a stencil brand owned by a successor. The better known examples are D. Noblet and L.Lebret, but certainly there must be many other "stencil heaven" events.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 10:41:16 AM »
Another tidbit on M. Henry;- courtesy of another researcher:
http://www.angelfire.com/music2/thecornetcompendium/new_page_8.html

This confirms the use of the name by Lyon & Healy in 1881, just four years after Henry is recorded as a commerce commissioner in Paris in 1877. One thing leads to another..... Who is F. Jaubert & Co.?
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum