Original U.S. Civil War Regulation Large Brass Clarion Bugle in Bb with Mouthpiece

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic well patinated example of a U.S. Civil war large "clarion" bugle pitched in the key of Bb. It conforms well to the standard quartermaster issued United States Army Bugle, which was the principal style of bugle issued to regular and volunteer buglers in the Civil War. Bugle is approximately 17 1/2" long with a bell diameter of 5 3/4".

These large single loop bugles were made in both copper and brass, and were often referred to in military requisition documents as by their French name of "Clarion". This example is made completely from brass, with a visible brazing seam on the right side of the bell. It is in very good shape considering the age, and aside from the bell flare being crushed in a bit, does not show any major damage. It features a leadpipe tuning slide with a wing nut to secure it, though unfortunately the leadpipe is currently frozen. It comes with a brass mouthpiece that has been with the bugle for some time, but we do not know if it original issue. The chain that would secure the mouthpiece to the bugle is missing, as is the hanging cord and/or tassel.

Many of these bugles were imported from Europe (usually Germany) In the early days of the Civil War, when demand for military equipage was greater than the supply, bugles, like other items necessary to equip large armies were in short supply and it was by far cheaper for northern and southern government contractors to import them. These bugle were copies of the standard French Army bugles pitched in Bb of the mid 19th century, and still in use by the French Army today.

This bugle does not have any markings that we can see, suggesting it was imported, as often the retailer would mark the bugle. It also could be that firms in Europe did not want the bugle to be traced back to them.

We did test the bugle, and it still sounds quite nice, and doesn't seem to be leaking anywhere. Ready to hang on the wall or wake up the neighbors!

The word bugle in the United States is often used as a generic term for many types of horns including the instruments used by the armed services, drum and bugle corps and by various other organizations such as the Boy Scouts. Nevertheless, bugles have always been specified correctly by the armed services and the suppliers and manufacturers of these instruments as either bugles (a conical bore natural horn) or as a field trumpet (a cylindrical bore natural horn over 2/3rds of its length).

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