Contempora “Chambers” Horns

In the mid-1950s, perhaps spurred on by the market entry of the Holton Farkas horn (1956), Roth-Reynolds approached James Chambers (New York Philharmonic, 1946-1969) with a similar idea for collaboration as to what Max Pottag had provided a decade earlier. Chambers was a Conn 8D player and, with the common Kruspe-Horner heritage, familiar with the basic layout of the Reynolds horn. According to Bill Bamberg,

The [Reynolds] horn apparently was designed to match the best 8Ds, and then modified slightly until Chambers liked it well enough to replace his 8D. The two most apparent modifications were to double the thickness of the bell from .009″ to .018″, and the leadpipe was shortened and retapered. The heavy bell is far more efficient, so the horn is much less fatiguing to play. The modified leadpipe doesn’t lock in like the 8D pipe. Not only is the horn more expressive, the player has more latitude to play it absolutely in tune.

In addition to physical specification changes, development of a horn for Chambers required Reynolds to produce solid nickel-silver instruments. In addition to the horn models, the Argenta line of trumpet, cornet and tenor trombone appear in the Reynolds catalog around this time. After two years of design and development, Chambers endorsed the Reynolds Chambers Model Double French Horn in 1958.

1958-1961
Model Size Description Example
190 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Chambers Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | heavyweight bell (.018″ thick); large bell throat | modified Kruspe-Horner wrap style; ring pull on B♭ tuning slide | Materials: gold brass with nickel silver slide tubes and trim; metal cork holders and unplated rotor levers | Finish: clear lacquer finish SN 58841. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: spinstruments.
191 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Chambers Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | heavyweight bell (.018″ thick); large bell throat | modified Kruspe-Horner wrap style; ring pull on B♭ tuning slide | Materials: solid nickel silver; metal cork holders and unplated rotor levers | Finish: clear lacquer finish  SN 58848. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: snki.
1961-1964

James Chambers played his Reynolds horn for three seasons until a contract dispute in 1961 with Reynolds’ new owners (Richards Music) regarding royalty payments and their expectations of his promotional activity prompted Chambers to return to his original Conn horn, ending the short-lived collaboration.

After Chambers left, Reynolds replaced the “Chambers Model” designation with new model numbers, but kept the overall design of the horns the same. Chambers horns received model numbers FE-01 and FE-03 for the solid nickel-silver and brass models, respectively. Chambers Model horns, with either designation, were produced through 1964.

Model Size Description Example
FE-01 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Chambers Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Same as Model 191 above SN 63256. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: leisuretime-mi and current owner Eli Kronenberg.
FE-03 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Chambers Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Same as Model 190 above SN 70663. Photos used with permission from anonymous eBay Member.
Brochure

This brochure features a number of articles and information related to James Chamber’s endorsement of Reynolds French Horns in the late 1950s.

Brochure provided courtesy of ElShaddai Edwards and may not be copied, reproduced or distributed in any form.