Pan American 54A Slender Model
Date: 1940. Owned by Mike Pawul
There really isn't that much I know about this model. Mike assures me it is a cornet and the 54A model is most likely. The 54A appears to have been produced between 1931 and at least 1940. Most instruments of this model will have had the 1930's style curved braces. The double angled straight braces on this one suggest a date between 1940 and 1946, with 1940 being likely based on my current interpretation of the Pan American serial number list. The bore size is 0.468".
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.
Pan American instruments of 1938 were available in 3 finishes:
FINISH 2 - Rich satin silver with engraving design and other parts brightly burnished. Inside of bell gold plated and hand burnished.
FINISH 3 - Rich sating silver with inside of bell, engraving design and other prominent parts handsomely burnished for added beauty.
FINISH 4 - Highly polished brass with distinctive engraving design on bell. Clear or Gold lacquer applied to this finish at EXTRA prices below.
LACQUER - For Clear or Gold lacquer, ADD the following charges to the price of the instrument in Finish 4; Cornet or Trumpet, $3.00.
What Pan American said in 1938:
Features new, short "Slik-Valves". Has fine tone, true scale, light, fast action. Longer and narrower than 50-A model. Built in Bb and A. Length 19½ inches; Bell 4½". Complete in Gladstone case.
Fin.2 - Complete, $67.50 Inst.only, $55.00 Case only, $15.00
Fin.4 - Complete, $57.50 Inst.only, $45.00 Case only, $15.00