Contempora “Pottag” Horns

At some point in the history of the Reynolds Double Horn, the Reynolds company forged a relationship with Max Pottag, long-time second horn with the Chicago Symphony to promote sales of the new horn. It is yet unclear when Pottag was initially involved with Reynolds, but the earliest known Reynolds horn with a “Pottag Model” marking is SN 20074 (c.1949). Pottag had retired from the CSO in 1947 after 40 years of playing and was at that time focused on his teaching at Northwestern (1934-1952).

Late 1940s-1961

The Contempora model name officially replaced the Reynolds designation c.1950, though it was still referred to as a “Reynolds Pottag” horn long into the ’50s. A solid nickel silver model was added c.1958, presumably at the same time that the Chambers Model was developed.

Model Size Description Example
160 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Pottag Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Standard weight bell with medium bell throat | Wrap: modified Kruspe-Horner (with B♭ tuning slide) | Materials: brass with nickel silver slide tubes and trim | Finish: clear lacquer finish Model 160 [SN unknown]. Photo source: eBay.
161 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Pottag Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Standard weight bell with medium bell throat | Wrap: modified Kruspe-Horner (with B♭ tuning slide) | Materials: solid nickel silver | Finish: clear lacquer finish Model 161 [SN 53629]. Photos used with permission from Bruce Tubbs [eBay: frugalhorn].
1961-1964

After a contract dispute with James Chambers, Reynolds replaced the “Chambers Model” and “Pottag Model” designations with new model numbers, but kept the overall design of the horns the same. Pottag Model horns received model numbers FE-02 and FE-04 for the solid nickel-silver and brass models, respectively. Pottag Model horns, with either designation, were produced through 1964.

Model Size Description Example
FE-02 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Pottag Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Same as Model 161 above
FE-04 Bore: .472″
Bell: 12″
Contempora “Pottag Model” B♭/F Double French Horn | Same as Model 160 above Model FE-04 [SN 59844]. Photos used with permission from Howard Sanner.
Notes and Quotes

The Pottag Model, by all modern accounts, is well suited for small orchestra, chamber music and solo literature.

So how does [the Pottag Model] play? Very well, indeed! It is very free blowing, focused, good in all registers, with an especially easy top octave and a well-centered, easy-to-control low register. I recently played it and my Conn 8D at the inauguration of a recital hall some friends had built on their house. All present, me included, preferred the Reynolds to the 8D. It had a more focused, complex, warmer sound than the 8D.— Howard Sanner

In addition to the “Pottag Model” bell marking, these horns can be visually distinguished from the earlier Reynolds models and later Chambers horns by a small knob that Reynolds added to the B♭ tuning slide to presumably aid in tuning the slide by feel.

 SN 20074. Photos used with permission from Eli Kronenberg.At least one early Pottag horn features a nickel-silver tone ring on the bell, similar to those found on the Contempora trumpets, cornets and tenor trombones. It’s not known if this is a prototype or if Reynolds did formally produce the horn with a kranz for a limited time.

Brochure

This brochure features a number of articles and information related to Max Pottag’s endorsement of Reynolds French Horns:

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