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Author Topic: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line  (Read 10820 times)

Silversorcerer

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Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« 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

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.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 01:50:46 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #1 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?)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 07:49:06 AM by Silversorcerer »
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Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #2 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.
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Z.benitez@sbcglobal.net

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #3 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.

Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #4 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.
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8Paulque

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #5 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?

philpedler

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #6 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!

Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #7 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.
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DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #8 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!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #9 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.  :)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 03:20:22 AM by Silversorcerer »
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DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #10 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!
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Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #11 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.
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Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #12 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.
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Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #13 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.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 12:49:09 AM by Silversorcerer »
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