I have worked on two of these.
The first clarinet tested, serial 33391, was owned by a very good saxophone player. (More information on him below.) The barrel is 64mm.
«Selmer Paris sold less-expensive clarinets under the names Barbier, Bundy (Paris) and Raymond until ca. 1935, after which they focused exclusively on professional clarinets.»
Florentin Barbier seems to have been a French craftsman who made instruments under his own name and also worked for various companies. I have seen records of a piccolo and a bass saxophone mouthpiece with his name.
The 33391 instrument seems to basically be just an earlier version of the Selmer Signet.
Because of the sturdy Selmer key work, this would be a good instrument for a beginner.
For the intonation testing on the 64mm barrel, I needed to pull the barrel out 3mm. Whether or not the next owner will want a different barrel will depend on lots of factors, like mouthpiece, reed, embouchure. The chalemeau D and C might be improved by pulling out a hair at the center joint.
... second e-mail:
Note that this F. Barbier was made in Elkhart, Indiana.
Communication from the eBay seller: I lost my Dad to lung cancer in 2006... His name was Ron Schestag, he lived in Missoula, Montana. & He should have been a music teacher!! He was an incredible sax player... as far as the banding goes, I can't help you with that- this clarinet has been like it is since I can remember.
Glad to hear you are happy with the clarinet! Yup, Dad could have made a living playing sax, but he didn't ... (worked at a lumber company)... He played for a multitude of different groups & ensembles... mostly music from the 30's 40's & 50's... He played with mostly friends bands.. & almost always dance bands! and yes, he was a card carrying musicians' union member - lifetime! became a member when he was almost 13yrs old!!
Ron evidently played this some, but not nearly as much as his saxophone.
The keys are so nice looking that I can hardly believe this is from 1935 or before.
The banding was done by a real pro! I can't tell where the crack was. Being done so long ago, I can't believe the crack will ever open up again.
The earlier F. Barbier (probably made by SML) is a somewhat better instrument.
Serial 3221, worked on in 2009:
Note that M and 2 are stamped on both keyed joints.
This instrument has Buffet-style pin in hole left pinkie keys.
There is no chiseled out portion under the right pinkie key cluster.
Note that the C#/G# tone hole has no bevel around it. I have seen this before on Pedler instruments and others.
The bridge keys are narrow and straight.
The C#/G# key has the spring mounted on it.
8th picture: Note the wonderful sleeve that will make it so that this joint will never split. I don't think the other F. Barbier had this feature.
I now think that the metal sleeve is a sign that this instrument was made by SML. (See also Olds Studio.)
The F. Barbier mouthpiece plays very nicely indeed.
The later logo looks similar, but the earlier and better F. Barbier was made in Paris, and “sponsored by Selmer.”