Conn 112A Coprion with brass bell
Date: 1942, Owned by Ron Redding
This is a very rare and historically interesting instrument. Allow me to explain why.
In 1938 Conn produced a version of the 22B New York Symphony (trumpet) with a Coprion bell, and called it the
12B Coprion. The cornet version of the 12B Coprion was the 12A Coprion (see separate entries for these
instruments). However, Conn never produced a 22A (which might have been called the 22A New York Symphony).
Jump forward to world war 2. The U.S. entered the war in December 1941, however, the Conn factory didn't convert to wartime production (compasses, etc.) until the summer of 1942. During the first 6 months of 1942 Conn produced musical instruments as it always had. The above pictured instrument was one of those instruments produced during the first half of 1942. At some point copper must have been restricted for military use, being necessary for the war effort. As a result Conn couldn't produce Coprion bells anymore, which included the 12A Coprion. This instrument proves Conn in stead produced the 12A with a brass bell. They called it the model 112A, and not the 22A since that model number was in use. So this instrument is a 12A in all respects, but with a brass bell. Production numbers are unknown, but bound to be very low.
I have learned that the third slide, without the finger ring to adjust the pitch of a low D and C#, is slightly longer than it is on modern instruments. On modern instruments the low Eb is in tune, but the low D and C# are quite sharp. On these older cornets with the longer third slide and no finger ring the Eb is a bit flat and the D and C# are slightly sharp, but not as sharp as they are on later instruments. It was thought that the slightly flat Eb and slightly sharp D and C# were within the abilities of the player to lip into tune.
As far as I can tell at this point, all Conn cornets built before 1958 take a short shank cornet mouthpiece as opposed to the 2¾" "Bach-style" long shank cornet mouthpiece. The long shank cornet mouthpieces won't properly fit a pre-1958 Conn cornet and won't give the proper intonation or playing characteristics of a short shank cornet mouthpiece. All of Conn's "Connstellation" cornet mouthpieces are long shank mouthpieces. The "Improved Precision" Conn mouthpieces such as the Conn 4 are long shank if there is a "ridge" halfway down the shank, and short shank if there is no ridge (in which case it is a "Precision" mouthpiece). All Conn cornet mouthpieces built before the "Improved Precision" series (ridge), such as the "Precision" series (no ridge) are short shank mouthpieces.
For further information see the entry for the 12A Coprion.