BOOSEY & HAWKES 'Emperor' Alexander 103 copy

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Place of origin: LONDON, U.K. 

Model: ‘Emperor’ – an excellent copy of a pre-WWll Alexander 103.

Type:  F/Bb full double

 Date: 1937-1938

Bell throat profile: M (medium)

Bell diameter:  12.25 inches

Bore (cylindrical):  11.9 mm

Alloys: copper (bell and branch, yellow brass (leadpipe) and nickel silver (slides).

Bell flare: fixed

Valve compression: very good for its age; the 4th rotor was nickel plated about 2 years ago.

Adjustable finger hook.

Lacquer: fairly worn over about 30% of the surfaces

Engraving on the outer bell throat (see photos):



(eagle and bugle motif below)

Boosey & Hawkes Ltd


295 Regent St

London W1



Modern lightweight case with backpack straps.

General condition:  slightly shabby in a few places although there are no ‘invasive’ dings, just a few very small ones that are purely cosmetic. The horn’s overall appearance is quite startling, the copper bell, branch and tuning slide ‘bows’ contrasting vividly with the nickel silver slides and yellow brass mouthpipe. The brass of the mouthpipe, (which is not fitted with a protective sleeve or ‘chemise’ in the modern fashion) although its lacquer is blemished, seems to be healthy, with no signs of any ‘pinking’. The extraordinarily eye-catching hexagonal spindle ‘domes’ on the rotor caps are unique, in my experience.

Further details: this is one of the most historically interesting and generally fascinating horns to have come my way in the past 12 years or so. It may well be the earliest Boosey & Hawkes rotary valved double horn in existence, maybe a hand-made prototype for the later B & H ‘Imperial’ which went into mass production in or around 1946 when Alexander 103s were impossible to obtain. Its bell is clearly hand-made, since the ‘stitching’ of the seam and gusset are visible.

The later ‘Imperial’ double was quite a heavy and solidly-built horn, whereas this one is very light indeed (owing to its hollow rotors and thin gauge brass and copper).

Following its very recent overhaul and 4th rotor’s plating, the ‘Emperor’ plays beautifully, with a refined, slender and warm tonal palette, similar to that of the old B & H ‘French’ small-bore piston horn.



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BOOSEY & HAWKES 'Emperor' Alexander 103 copy