This rare clarinet has many of the characteristics that I like in French Stencil clarinets. I think this was made by Thibouville.
A prolific composer, Fillmore wrote over 250 tunes and arranged orchestrations for hundreds more; he also published a great number of tunes under various pseudonyms. While best known for march music and screamers, he also wrote waltzes, foxtrots, hymns, novelty numbers, overtures and waltzes.
James Henry Fillmore Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio as the eldest of 5 children. In his youth he mastered piano, guitar, violin, and flute -- as well as the slide trombone, which at first he played in secret, as his conservative religious father believed it an uncouth and sinful instrument. Fillmore was also a singer for his church choir as a boy. He began composing at 18, with his first published march "Higham", named after a line of brass instruments. Fillmore entered the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1901. After this he traveled around the United States as a circus bandmaster with his wife, an exotic dancer named Mabel May Jones. They got married in St Louis.
In the 1920s he was back in Cincinnati, directing the Shriners Temple Band, which he turned into one of the best marching bands in the country.
Like the music cover pictured, this instrument also was a product of the Fillmore Music House.
The case style dates from the 1920s-30s.
There is no serial number.
LH joint top: 14.6 mm
LH joint bottom: 14.7 mm
|Middle of treble clef|
This shape of the lever that is raised by the left pinkie key is like that of Thibouville
There is a chiseled out area beneath the right pinkie keys.
The left G#/C# tone hole is not a bare hole. That key has a leaf spring, which is another thing I like.
Bear in mind that I normally play on a 64mm barrel.
I would need a barrel of about that length to play this instrument in tune.
Testing using a B45 mouthpiece and a #4 Oliveri reed.
These are much improved by pulling in the middle.
This instrument will work well for a beginning to intermediate player, and would be especially nice for an adult returning to clarinet playing. I would need a shorter barrel, but many players will not.
The batch number is also somewhat similar to that of Thibouville, although other makers used these as well.