1912 Boosey "Sotone"Another interesting double horn was that which D.J. Blaikley patented in England in 1912. It was a compensating double horn using piston valves, and was modelled after the Raoux style of single F horn (pea-shooter) then in almost universal use in England.
Note: This horn is part of a private collection in the Australia. It is NOT part of the collection of Dick Martz. The photographs and description below are used by permission of the owner, Mr. Graeme Evans.
I have an instrument of this type. It is a Boosey "Sotone" S/N 85594, and all the valves including the change valve are piston. Unfortunately, although it is in good playing order, it is built in Old Philharmonic (A=452Hz) pitch, and is almost certainly a ex. band instrument.
Strangely enough, it plays quite well on the F side, in spite of being compensating system, but the B flat side is pretty awful. There are a few duff notes, and the tone is very harsh.
It is probably little wonder that English players disregarded it in favour of Alexanders, as the German style of double horn did sound much better on the B flat side. Nonetheless, it is an interesting old horn, and gives some idea of what our predecessors had available at the time.
It came with an old funnel shaped mouthpiece of very narrow cup diameter, and inside the cup you can see the word "Busby", which has been written there, presumably by some store-keeper. Clearly this is one of the very popular (at that time!!) Busby mouthpieces, named after the illustrious LSO 3rd player (God's own quartet, with Borsdorf, van der Meerschen and grandfather A.E Brain), founder board member, and later, after Borsdorf's retirement, 1st horn . It is amazing how anyone could play with such a narrow diameter (approx 16mm), but there you are; Tom Busby certainly could, and Dennis Brain also used such a mouthpiece for most of his career.
Principal Horn, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra