Crosby 8-key

Instrument: 8-key flute in the Nicholson style. 1838

Maker: Walter Crosby, Boston. (1805-1874) Crosby was one of the earliest flute makers in Boston. He was listed as a turner, umbrella and woodwind instrument maker. He was especially well-known for his fifes. His English style flutes were designed by J.L. Downe who had studies with Charles Nicholson. This flute is the 3rd extant flute in this rather extreme Nicholson style. (Thanks to Doug Koeppe for this information on Crosby.) The other 2 examples have the owners names on the Silver plaque. On my example the owner’s name is engraved on the lip plate.” T.H. Blackman / Dorchester" (Dorchester being a Boston neighborhood.) The Silver plaque is engraved “Jan 1st 1838” The flute has multiple maker’s marks, all very worn.

There has been a lot of discussion about what the first initial is - generally, either J or T. In searching records from Dorchester, MA there was no J.H. Blackamnn with dates that could match the flute. There is a Timothy How Blackman, 1788-1843 - this seems a likely match

Pitch: 440ish

Sounding Length: 590mm

Total Length:

Notes:note the very large right hand toneholes and the flattened area. Short F has a broken block but is fully functional, barrel has 2 thin cracks, head has one crack below the silver lip plate and 4 in the upper part. Small crack off the RH socket and small crack from the foot socket. None are wide but the flute doesn’t currently play

Restoration: not yet restored

Demonstration recordings:


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© Michael Lynn, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 - some of these flutes are available for purchase - please contact me for further information