Conn New Invention Circus Bore
Date: 1911. Owned by Jim Hatfield
When Conn was still owned by Col. Conn himself models cornet that resembled each either very closely: the Perfected Wonder, and the New Invention Circus Bore. For a long time I thought these were the same model. However, the cornet expert and collector H.M. Lewis has explained to me how to tell the difference.
The Perfected Wonder model was built between approximately 1906 en 1910. The "Wonder" models, which include the Wonder, New York Wonder, Wonderphone, Perfected Wonderphone and the Perfected Wonder have in them patent number 343888, which is a patent for valve design. The easiest way to see this is to look at the short tube that connects the 3rd valve to the 2nd valve: in these models, following the patent, this tube is angled up from the 3rd valve to the 2nd valve. I am told by H.M. Lewis that all the Perfected Wonders he has played had "fairly severe intonation problems."
In 1911 the Conn factory was destroyed by fire. It is reasonable to assume that as a result a redesign of certain models took place; after all, they had to restart from scratch anyway. This is where the new Invention Circus Bore came in: visually extremely similar to the Perfected Wonder, except that the tube between the 3rd and 2nd valve is horizontal. In spite of its name, the "Circus Bore" model was available in small, medium and large bore. That should correspond to bore sizes of 1½ (0,458"), 2 (0.468") and 2½ (0.484"), respectively. It is my impression that the large bore version was most common. The instrument pictured is a small bore version. The Circus Bore model was made in both high and low pitch and was produced from 1911 to about 1920.
What Conn said in 1913:
The claim made for the New [Invention] Circus Bore Cornet is that it has a better and more correct scale throughout its entire compass, that it plays easier and has a bigger nad more powerful voice-like quality of tone. That it is better balanced, handles easier and that its tone responds more quickly and more readily. The bell of this Cornet hang downward to prevent the free use of the performer's embouchure, and the performer can do more on the Circus Bore Cornet and last longer when doing it than with any other Cornet.
Low Pitch Cornet weighs 2 lbs. 6 oz., length 16¼ inches, bell diameter 5 in.
High Pitch Cornet weighs 2 lbs. 5 oz., length 15¾ inches, bell diameter 4¾ in.