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Author Topic: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line  (Read 34613 times)

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #15 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.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #16 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.  ;)
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #17 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.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 08:38:41 AM by Silversorcerer »
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #18 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:
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 05:37:55 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #19 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.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 06:34:15 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #20 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.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 05:43:29 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #21 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.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 09:48:24 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #22 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.
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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #23 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)

« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 12:15:37 AM by Silversorcerer »
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Offline Alfearless

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #24 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!

Offline rezzie

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #25 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.
Ivo Papasov laughs at your primitive time signatures.

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #26 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.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum

Offline Alfearless

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #27 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?

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #28 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.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:10:02 PM by Silversorcerer »
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Penzel Mueller Serial Time line
« Reply #29 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.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum