Argenta Cornets

Introduced in 1959, the Reynolds Argenta cornet is a large-bore cornet made of solid nickel silver, available in models with and without a first-valve tuning trigger.

The Argenta line of instruments (trumpet, cornet, trombone) were developed around the time that Reynolds created nickel-silver versions of their Pottag and Chambers model French horns. With the same specifications as the large-bore Contempora cornet, the nickel-silver Argenta and bronze-alloy bell Contempora models offer proficient cornet players a choice of tonal alternatives to traditional yellow brass.

1959-1961

Roth-Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio)

This cornet was an immediate and sensational success. Band directors and professionals admired its beauty from the start, have tried it and have changed to it everywhere. Never in the history of band instrument making has a better cornet been made and has found such immediate success and acceptance. Furnished in deluxe Gladstone style case.

1959 Reynolds catalog

Model 46

Large-bore cornet without first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Length: 17½"
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear lacquer finish

Model 47

Large-bore cornet with first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Length: 17½"
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear lacquer finish

Model 47 [SN 56139]. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: algee2 (Lauderdale Wind).

1961-1964

RMC-Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio)

Sometime after Richards Music purchased Reynolds in 1961, the product catalog was renumbered. The old numbers were replaced with a new scheme that reflected the type of instrument. To the best of knowledge, the instrument specifications did not change, just the model numbers.

Model CR-26

Large-bored cornet with first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Length: 17½"
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear lacquer finish

Model CR-26 [SN 649xx]. Photos used with permission from eBay Member: laundry05.

Made of solid nickel-silver, this model produces the rich "dark" type of tone and unique response that more American professionals are beginning to find preferable to inherent brass brilliance. This is an open-blowing instrument for developed musicians. Optional first valve trigger.

c.1963 RMC/Reynolds catalog

Model CR-29

Large-bore cornet, no first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Length: 17½"
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear lacquer finish

Model CR-29 [SN 78965]. Photo source, eBay Member: kmweber

1964-1973

Reynolds (Fullerton, Calif.)

After CMI purchased the assets to Reynolds, trumpets, cornets, trombones and French horns were made at the Olds factory in Fullerton, Calif. There were slight adjustments to the model specifications compared to the Cleveland instruments.

The Argenta cornet was discontinued in 1973 and its place in the 1974 Reynolds catalog was taken by the nickel-plated Onyx cornet.

Model CR-26

Large-bore cornet with first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear epoxy coating

Model CR-26, SN 236763. Photos used with permission from Linda Townsend (eBay Member: lynntown54).

Model CR-29

Large-bore corent, no first-valve trigger

Bore: .462"
Bell: 4-3/4", nickel silver
Materials: solid nickel silver
Finish: clear epoxy coating

CR-29 [SN 249947].

The Argenta is designed for the cornet player who desires a 'dark', mellow tone. It has the same distinctive characteristics as that of the Contempora, except that it is solid nickel silver. Lightning-fast valve action affords quick response. Available without first valve trigger (CR-29) at lower cost.

1970 Reynolds catalog

NOTES

According to Reynolds’ trademark application, the Spanish word "Argenta" means "silver." It is a form of the verb argentar and more accurate translations might be "to silver plate" or "to give a silvery shine to." The Argenta line of horns were some of very few band instruments, other than French horns, made completely of solid nickel silver.

Despite its close appearance, there is no actual silver in nickel silver. Nickel silver, also known as German silver or neusilber, is an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel. A representative alloy mix contains 65% copper, 17% zinc and 18% nickel (compared to 80% copper and 20% zinc for standard yellow brass). Nickel silver has similar characteristics to brass, but is harder and stiffer, making it a durable alternative often used on high-wear areas of a horn, including valve casings, hand grips, tuning slides and trim.

Instruments made of solid nickel silver tend to have a darker, clearer tone compared to standard brass alloys. Nickel silver emphasizes the lower and higher overtone series, resulting in a sound that resonates very clearly in the corresponding registers. Nickel silver horns also tend to project more dramatically than other brass alloys and can easily throw an ensemble section out of balance without care; they are often used where a homogeneous section balance isn’t emphasized, e.g. as a soloist instrument or in a small mixed-instrument horn line. That said, many have found satisfaction using Argenta instruments within big band groups and other similar settings.

The purpose of this website is to preserve the history of the F. A. Reynolds Company and the distinctive qualities of its brass instruments. Contempora Corner and contemporacorner.com are not related or associated in any way to the former or current F.A. Reynolds Company.

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