Conn 2A Eb Wonder
Date: 1922. Owned by Ron Redding
The 2A Wonder looks remarkably similar to the 1960's 2A Victor. I suspect that the 1960's 2A is an updated version of the 1920's 2A Wonder. The 2A Wonder was produced between at least 1919 and 1927 and has a #½ (0.425") bore. The copper on the valve casing is a somewhat uncommon, but not unheard of, feature of 1920's instrument. The owner of this instrument, Ron Redding, tells me that if you look inside the valve casing the top and bottom are brass for about 1 cm (¼"), the rest is copper. As was usual in those days there was also a High Pitch version called the 3A which came with extra slides for low pitch. As far as I can tell, the name "Wonder" was dropped at some point in the late 1920's.
The above instrument is actually quite unusual. It is an "Engineering model" and is engraved as such. It might therefore have some features not common on production models. Presumably it was never intended to be sold. The story I have heard is that when Conn left the factory in Elkhart, Indiana and moved to Abilene, Texas in 1971, a number of pre-production, engineering and accoustical models "escaped" from the factory. Personally I am happy they did escape, because else gems such as this 2A might well have been lost for ever.
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.
What Conn said in the 1920's:
"...has the true cornet tone, offering a slightly higher voice to the band in which it is used. Provided with the new adjustable tension valves found exclusively on C.G.Conn products."
Weight: 2 lbs., length 14", bell diameter 4½". The 2A is the low pitch version, the 3A the high pitch version.