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Volitions Advocate

Senior member
My initial emal:
Hello there.

My name is Curtis and I've recently acquired an oboe of yours to use in my studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada.
The lady who sold it to me told me it had been made sometime in the 1960s and was considered a professional model at the time, and that she had used it professionally for more than 30 years.  Although by todays standards I can only assume it's on par with most student models.
I have to say I'm very impressed with the condition of the instrument if it is indeed as old as I am told.

I just had it into the repair shop and they made sure the thumbplate was working, it had a bit of a malfunction but it is fixed and sounds great now.

I just wanted to send you a couple pictures and to see if there was any information you could give me about my instrument.
Exact year of manufacture?
Closest equivalent model you still make? and price?
is there anything special I can do to make sure it is kept in its best condition considering how old it is?
I also build guitars and certain oils are great for treating fingerboard woods, I was just wondering if there is anything like that I can use to keep the wood from shrinking and cracking? I'm quite pleased that it has no cracks at all.
there is a 4 digit number stamped on both parts of the main joint right in the middle : 0157
Other than that and the 'Howarth of London & co' stamp there are no identification marks.
It's Original owner is from britain and she said she actually had all the maintenance done by Howarth when she lived there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

the Reply :


Thank you for your email.  Our records are all in paper format so it has been an interesting search to find the details of this oboe.  We think we have found it in the first leather ledger which dates back to 1948.  Our professional series of instruments started at 1001, an S1 model which we now own.  The student and intermediate level instruments were introduced in the late 1950's we have traced the serial number of your one to February 1964, when it was sold to J Wolfe.  It was listed as an S10 which is still the name for our current student model, however yours has semi automatic octaves, whereas the current S10 only has single octaves.  I would think for insurance purposes you should cover it for a modern S20 oboe (£2000).
If the wood is in good condition now then it is not too likely to crack.  We find the best oil to keep the wood in good condition is Almond oil - do be sparing however as if it gets on the pads they will stick and not function properly.  You will probably find that the thing that needs regular maintenance is the pads and adjusting corks as these wear with use.
I do hope this answers your questions and that you enjoy playing this oboe!
Best Wishes
Emma Gourlay

sold in Feb 1964 to J Wolfe in England - S10 with semi auto octaves.