Cramer & Key 3-keyed Serpent

Cramer & Key 3-keyed Serpent

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This serpent was made by Cramer & Key in London, England, around 1805-1807. It is a 3-keyed serpent made of maple, covered with leather and linen, strengthened by 2 metal rods. This serpent has 6 fingerholes with ivory bushes, 3 brass keys, a brass band at the top, a brass rim around the edge of the bell, brass crook, and an ivory mouthpiece. The keys have flat round key heads and are mounted in saddles. Etched on the top brass band:


Instrument makers John Cramer (c. 1764 – 1828) and Thomas Key (17?? – 1853), had a brief partnership in London from 1804-1808. John Cramer was trained by instrument maker George Miller and took over his workshop in 1791 at No. 3 Dacre Street, Westminster. In July 1804 John Cramer started his business partership with his foreman Thomas Key at Pall Mall No. 2. In September 1807 their partnership was dissolved, and John Cramer continued with his son John Theodore Jonas Cramer (1792-1818) at Pall Mall No. 20.

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
1805 - 1807
Cramer & Key
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
maple (overall material)
leather (overall material)
linen (overall material)
brass (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
serpent: 4 3/4 in x 17 1/4 in x 28 7/8 in; 12.065 cm x 43.815 cm x 73.3425 cm
mouthpiece extender: 7/8 in x 4 3/8 in x 7 7/8 in; 2.2225 cm x 11.1125 cm x 20.0025 cm
mouthpiece ivory: 1 13/16 in x 1 5/16 in; 4.60375 cm x 3.33375 cm
box of fragments: 3 1/4 in x 10 in x 13 in; 8.255 cm x 25.4 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Wesleyan University
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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