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All the heckelphones ever made

How many heckelphones have been built over the years? Where were they shipped and used? How many still exist? How many are being played, and how many are kept in museums?

Thanks to an excellent book on the history of the company published in 2014 by its former principal, Edith Reiter, which contains a detailed list of instruments produced by Heckel, and a second list painstakingly assembled by Mike Frederick (available from www.heckelbassoons.info/Heckelphones.html), there is a fairly detailed record of the heckelphones made and sold over the years. Furthermore, in their seminal article "The Heckelphone at 100", Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Vol. 30, pp.98-165, 2004, Robert Howe and Peter Hurd have provided a further list of heckelphones they were able to track down.

Unfortunately, some of Heckel's records, as published in Edith Reiter's book, are incomplete, as is the list by Mike Frederick, as well as that by Howe & Hurd. The following list has been created by reconciling all three sources. In the few cases where there were contradictions between them (e.g., regarding the year in which a given instrument was completed), Reiter's list was taken as authoritative. All instruments contained in one list, but not the other, have been included. All completion dates and countries of initial buyers have been taken from Reiter's list; of course, some instruments reside no longer in the country shown here, and I strongly assume that some sadly no longer exist. Information taken from Howe & Hurd's article is clearly indicated in the descriptions of the individual instruments; some additional information has been kindly provided by Peter Hurd and is also indicated. All other information has been newly collected for this list. Entries with high-quality images, video or audio samples, provided with permission of the copyright holders where applicable, are marked (*). As my research of continues, I hope to document, to the fullest possible extent, all the heckelphones ever made.

It should be noted that since 1912, Heckel has been assigning serial numbers across several families of "non-standard" instruments. According to Howe and Hurd (2004), since 1968, Heckel makes instruments other than bassoons, contrabassoons and heckelphones (such as oboes) only to special order; therefore, from 1972 onwards, most serial numbers for non-standard instruments were given to heckelphones.

Serial # Year Date Country Details
1 1904 19.12. Germany as of 2004, located in Scotland, played regularly
2 1904 14.12. Sweden as of 2021, the location and owner of this instrument remain unknown
3 1905 14.01. (unknown) as of 2020, part of the collection of the Musical Instrument Museum in Poznan, Poland
4 1905 02.10. UK
5 1905 09.03. (unknown)
6 1905 01.03. (unknown)
7 1905 01.06. (unknown)
9 1905 10.09. (unknown)
10 1905 10.09. Germany as of 2005, located and played at the Semperoper in Dresden, Germany
11 1905 19.09. (unknown)
12 1905 06.10. (unknown)
13 1905 15.11. Austria as of 2005, located in Minneapolis, USA
14 1905 15.12. Germany
15 1905(?) (unknown)
16 1906(?) (unknown)
17 1906 19.02. (unknown)
18 1906 19.03. Czech Republic as of 2020, located at the University of Tübingen, Germany
19 1906 01.05. Germany as of 2020, located France, played regularly (*)
20 1906 09.06. Germany
21 1906 04.07. Germany as of 2020, located at the Museum Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, Germany
22 1906 29.08. Hungary as of 2020, located at the museum Haus der Musik im Fruchtkasten in Stuttgart, Germany
23 1906 17.09. Germany as of 2020, located at the Münchner Stadtmuseum in München, Germany
24 1906 10.10. Germany
25 1906 10.10. USA as of 2020, located in New York City (NY), USA
26 1906 09.11. (unknown) as of 2006, thought to be located in Bloomfield (NJ), USA
27 1906 30.11. Germany
28 1906 21.12. (unknown)
29 1907 09.01. Germany
30 1907 07.01. Germany
31 1907 02.03. Belgium
32 1907 15.02. Germany
33 1907 19.02. USA as of 2021, thought to be located in Sunland (CA), USA
34 1907 07.03. (unknown)
35 1907 29.04. Germany
36 1907 01.08. Germany as of 2004, reported to be located in Vienna, Austria
37 1907 23.10. France as of 2020, located in Strasbourg, France
38 1907 23.10. Germany as of 2004, thought to be located in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
39 1908 25.01. UK as of 2020, part of the musical instrument collection of the University of Edinburgh, UK
40 1908 29.10. Russia
41 1908 20.12. Germany
42 1909 25.01. Austria as of 2016, located in Vienna, Austria
43 1909 03.02. Portugal as of 2020, part of the collection of the Museu Nacional da Música in Lisbon, Portugal
44 1909 23.02. Germany
45 1909 04.04. Italy as of 2020, part of the collection of the Grassi Museum für Musikinstrumente in Leipzig, Germany
46 1910 07.05. Germany
47 1910 16.03. Czech Republic
48 1910 03.12. Italy as of 2021, possibly located in Naples, Italy
49 1911 27.07. Germany
50 1911 08.04. UK as of 2020, reported to be located in San Diego (CA), USA
51 1911 27.10. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in The Hague, Netherlands
52 1912 12.01. Italy
3283 1912(?) (unknown) reported stolen in Detroit (MI), USA, in 1983 and believed to have been destroyed thereafter
3414 1912 19.07. UK as of 2004, reported to be located in London, UK
3423 1912 26.11. (unknown) as of 2020, part of the collection of the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica in Bologna, Italy
3427 1912 20.12. Russia
3432 1912 30.12. USA
3476 1914 05.02. Germany as of 2020, owned and played by a professional musician in Germany
3628 1919 09.09. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in Lubbock (TX), USA
3759 1923 03.01. (unknown) as of 2020, owned and played by a professional musician in the USA
3770 1923 03.01. (unknown)
3779 1923 11.07. (unknown)
3805 1923 (unknown)
3809 1923 14.01. USA as of 2020, part of the collection of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (IL), USA (*)
3810 1923 11.02. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in South Bend (IN), USA
3881 1924 21.07. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Gothenburg, Sweden
3896 1924 06.10. (unknown)
none 1925(??) (unknown)
none 1925 (unknown)
3915 1925 30.05. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Hartfortshire, UK
3916 1925 30.05. (unknown) as of 2021, owned and played by a professional musician in St. Paul (MN), USA, played regularly
3917 1925 30.05. USA as of 2020, owned by a professional musician in Germany, played regularly (*)
3922 1925 22.07. Germany
3923 1925 22.07. (unknown)
3928 1925 11.09. (unknown)
3929 1925 25.09. (unknown)
3950 1926 21.10. (unknown) as of 2004, part of the collection of the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments in Hamamatsu, Japan
3951 1926 11.02. (unknown) as of 2020, owned by a private collector in Las Vegas (NV), USA
3970 1926 10.04. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Detroit (MI), USA
3985 1926 25.09. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Wilbraham (MA), USA
4008 1927 18.01. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in San Francisco (CA), USA
4010 1927 18.01. USA
4013 1927 18.03. USA as of 2014, reported to be located in Munich, Germany
4014 1927 23.05. USA as of 2020, located in London, UK, played regularly (*)
4018 1927 01.10. (unknown)
4019 1928 03.01. (unknown)
4026 1927 02.12. (unknown)
4051 1928 06.10. (unknown)
4052 1928 16.10. (unknown)
4053 1928 16.10. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Montreal, Canada
4054 1928 30.10. (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Toronto, Canada
4055 1928 12.11. (unknown) as of 2020, located in Bloomington (IN), USA, played regularly (*)
none
'Waples'
~1928 (USA) as of 2021, located in Annandale-on-Hudson (NY), USA, played regularly (*)
4097 1929 03.07. Netherlands
4107 1929 27.08. Canada as of 2020, located in Bellingham (WA), USA
4132 1930 04 (unknown)
4141 1930 18.10. USA as of 2020, located in Eugene (OR), USA
4142 1930 (unknown)
4143 1930 29.09. UK as of 2004, reported to be located in Surrey, UK
4145 1932 17.02. Italy
4146 1932 14.04. Germany
4244 1934 01 (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Tokyo, Japan
4246 1934 02.01. Germany
4530 1937 30.09. Russia
4701 1940 01.12. Germany
4702 1946 01.01. USA as of 2020, located Bellingham (WA), USA
4720 1946 01.08. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in Stockholm, Sweden
4773 1950 05.01. USA as of 2006, reported to be located in New York City (NY), USA
4775 1950 05 (unknown) as of 2004, part of the collection of the Heimatmuseum Biebrich in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Germany
4777 1950 05 (unknown)
4784 1950 09.06. Germany
4786 1951 22.05. Germany
4788 1951 22.05. Sweden
4855 1956 (unknown)
4864 1955 18.02. Germany
4882 1982 01.11. Germany
4895 1957 (unknown)
4900 1955 17.03. Germany
4918 1956 14.05. Germany as of 2004, reported to be located in Düsseldorf, Germany
4920 1956 07 (unknown)
4925 1956 (unknown)
4935 1957 24.03. Netherlands as of 2004, reported to be located in Hilversum, Netherlands
4937 1957 24.03. Argentina
4932 1957 (unknown)
4939 1957 (unknown)
4946 1957 (unknown)
4954 1957 (unknown)
4961 1957 10.09. Germany
4962 1957 (unknown)
4963 1957 10.09. Canada as of 2020, located in Bellingham (WA), USA
4971 1972 01.07. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in Pittsburgh (PA), USA
4973 1972 01.07. USA as of 2019, located in Pittsburgh (PA), USA
4975 1972 01.07. Germany
4976 1972 01.07. Germany
4977 1978 01.12. Germany
4978 1980 01.08. UK as of 2004, reported to be located in Sydney, Australia
4979 1982 01.11. Japan
4980 1981 01.11. Germany as of 2021, reported to be located in Stuttgart, Germany
4981 1982 01.02. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in Purchase (NY), USA
4982 1982 11 (unknown) as of 2004, reported to be located in Sauerlach, Germany
4983 1983 01.10. Germany as of 2020, located in Munich, Germany
4984 1983 01.12. Germany
4985 1984 10.07. Germany
4986 1984 27.12. UK as of 2004, reported to be located in Melbourne, Australia
4987 1986 02.09. New Zealand
4988 1987 25.05. Switzerland as of 2017, located in Zurich, Switzerland
4989 1987 11.10. Switzerland as of 2004, reported to be located in Biel, Switzerland
4990 1989 30.04. Switzerland
4991 1989 29.09. USA
4992 1990 25.10. UK as of 2019, located in London, UK
4993 1990 01.12. Japan
4994 1992 01.02. Austria as of 2020, located in Vienna, Austria, played regularly
4995 1991 01.12. Italy as of 2020, located in San Francisco (CA), USA
5000 1994 01.05. Germany as of 2004, reported to be located in Frankfurt/Main, Germany
5001 1995 01.06. Germany
5002 1995 01.08. Germany
5003 1996 01.12. Finland as of 2004, reported to be located in Helsinki, Finland
5004 1998 01.03. UK as of 2004, reported to be located in Birmingham, UK
5005 1999 01.04. UK
5006 2000 10.10. Germany
5007 1999 10.10. Denmark currently in Denmark, played regularly (*)
5008 2000 10.02. Germany
5009 2001 01.10. Japan
5010 2001 01.12. Japan
5011 2003 01.10. USA as of 2004, reported to be located in Atlanta (GA), USA
5012 2002 (never sold) as of 2020, located in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Germany
5013 2004 30.11. Germany
5014 2005 08.06. Switzerland
5015 2005 12.12. Czech Republic
5016 2006 08.06. Germany
5017 2007 03.03. Norway
5018 2008 01.02. Japan
5020 2010 01.04. Austria as of 2020, located in Vienna, Austria
5021 2010 10.09. USA as of 2021, located in the Netherlands, played regularly (*)
5022 2011 09.03. Germany
5023 2012 20.09. Japan as of 2021, located in the USA, played regularly (*)
Heckelphone production over time

Heckelphone deliveries by continent

Heckelphone deliveries by continent in %

Heckelphone deliveries by country

Every country shown in the legend and unlabelled in the figure have had one heckelphone delivery recorded.

Heckelphone deliveries by country in %

Frederick's list covers only instruments completed between 1904 and 2010, Hurd & Howe's list ends at 2002, and Reiter's list goes up to 2012. The Heckel company has confirmed that no heckelphones have been completed since #5023, shown last in the list above. Based on this, it appears that no more than 175 heckelphones have been completed up to the present day. According to Heckel, two heckelphones are currently under construction and expected to be completed between 2025 and 2026.

Some additional, interesting information can be found in Frederick's excellent list, such as model numbers (along with explanations of characteristics of these models) and details on the history and modifications of some instruments. For the time being, I've decided to refrain from including those details here; however, as I learn more about specific instruments, I will add some information to the table above. Details from Howe & Hurd's article are included, even in cases where I have not (yet) been able to verify them, but are clearly marked. The same was done for details kindly provided by Peter Hurd of Bellingham (WA), USA, and Werner Schulze of Vienna, Austria, whose contributions I gratefully acknowledge.

Overall, many mysteries remain regarding quite a few of the heckelphones listed above, and any information that can help me solve those will be highly appreciated. I'd like to learn as much as I can, especially where these instruments are currently located, and which are still being played. I am also planning to collect pictures of as many of them as possible. For contributions of any kind, please contact me at heckelphone@gmx.net or @heckelphon on Twitter.


Last updated on 18 March 2021. To provide further details on any of the instruments (or leads to anyone who might have those details), please contact me at heckelphone@gmx.net.