Euphonium. 'Chicago Bore' model. Brass tubing with silver plating. Five Périnet valves, three positioned vertically for the right hand and two at the side for the left. Water key with no pad. Socket for music card holder missing screw. Inscription stamped on bell with star emblem beneath: CHICAGO/BORE/50 MEDALS OF HONOUR/BESSON & Co./"Prototype"/198 EUSTON ROAD/LONDON; Stamped on first and fourth valve casings within an oval outline with a star at the centre: F.BESSON/BREVETE/56605/4; Casings of valves one to five stamped 4,5,6,7,8 respectively.
Besson designed their range of 'Chicago bore' instruments for the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. This is not only the lowest-numbered surviving valved instrument stamped 'CHICAGO BORE' but also the lowest-numbered surviving valved instrument stamped 'BESSON & CO'. Marthe Besson sold the London Besson business to Arthur Bryans on 15 May 1895 and it became a company on 1st June 1895. This instrument must have been finished and stamped 'BESSON & CO' within a few days of there being a company. [Arnold Myers]