Harry B. Jay B-Flat Cornet

Harry B. Jay B-Flat Cornet

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Description (Brief)

This cornet was made by the Harry B. Jay Co. in Chicago, Illinois around 1911 to 1915. It is a long model B-flat cornet Columbia model, serial #735, made of brass with 3 piston valves and features a patented tuning by Harry B. Jay. This cornet is engraved:

Harry B. Jay Co.

There are two patents issued to Jay featured on this cornet:

United States Patent #856642, June 11, 1907, for “Improvements in Tuning Slides for Horns and Like Instruments.”

United States Patent #1003049, September 12, 1911, for “Improvements in Musical Instruments.”

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Harry B. Jay Co.
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 17 in x 4 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 43.18 cm x 11.43 cm x 16.51 cm
overall: 16 15/16 in x 4 5/8 in x 6 7/8 in; 43.02125 cm x 11.7475 cm x 17.4625 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Erickson
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I learned to play on this horn in 1965. I still have it and spent $175 to have it cleaned and repaired. Serial # 10070. Louis Armstrong played an HB Jay cornet before switching to the trumpet. I believe his sold at auction in the 1990s for around $15,000 - because it was his!
I have a similar horn, except mine is silver and Serial Number 629. Great playing horn!

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