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An exceptionally rare pair of Clinton system, Barett action clarinets. George Clinton`was responsible for improving the invention of Apollon Barret, whereby the lowest trill key on the upper joint can produce both Eb/Bb and F/C, depending on whether the first 2 fingers of the LH are used or just the LH index. This system was extremely popular in the UK until the 1930's when the Boehm gradually won over the majority of players. Essentially this is a much improved Simple system instrument.
The pair is very remarkable: The Bb S/N 15474 is stamped "EXCELSIOR SONOROUS CLASS" HAWKES & SONS MAKERS LONDON. The A has S/N 13603 and is stamped "Made by Boosey & Hawkes Ltd LONDON". Therefore we can with some degree of accuracy surmise that this pair was made in 1930, the point that Hawkes and Boosey joined together.
Both instruments are stamped LP i.e. A=440Hz. The original mouthpiece is wooden, playable, but obviously worn. The instruments can also be played with modern m'pieces with the barrels pulled out, but ideally need a copy made of the original m'piece or B&H 926 type bore m'pieces. They are both in good condition, with no cracks or repairs to the wood. Both clarinets have a wooden surround mount for the LH index finger. This is dual function: 1. To stop the index catching the pad cup below, and 2. to facilitate fingering the A key. It could be that this was a custom addition by their former owner. Also both instruments have had the top 2 trill keys lengthened by approx 1 cm. Additionally the A has had an extension to the 2nd trill key soldered on: I suspect the former owner had small hands. See photo 10.
Though I am sure these instruments were bought as a matched pair there are some differences between the lower joints. The A has a wooden surround mount for the RH index, and a metal bar to stop mis-assembly and damage to the C#/G# key, when the joints are put together. The Bb doesnot, in fact it looks as if the metal bar may have been there at some time in the past, but is no longer. the pads throughout are a mixture of white and tan leather, sealing well. The German Silver key work throughout is of excellent quality. All pieces are matching and correctly serial numbered. The case is custom made and in excellent condition. It has a canvas cover, which is worn and with loose stitching but serviceable.