Double-wall silver flute – Agostino RAMPONE
Here is an exciting instrument for flute collectors and enthusiasts everywhere. It is a double-wall silver flute made by the maestro Agostino RAMPONE (1843-1897) in Italy.
Double-wall metal wind instruments featured a hollow body with two tubes. This innovation was first patented in 1879 in Italy by Agostino Rampone who submitted a five-year patent for ‘Flutes and clarinets of all-metal construction’ [Flauti e clarini di costruzione intieramente metallica]. There was an external tube to which the keys were applied that reproduced the proportions and appearance of the wooden instrument. A second internal tube ensured the correct dimensions of the chamber. Then a small cylinder was added to each hole to connect the two tubes, creating an airtight chamber. Rampone would go on to use the same system for oboes and bassoons too.
These instruments became fashionable for use outside, especially for civil and military bands, as well as for regular, professional use. Unlike wooden instruments, metal instruments do not crack in extreme weather and as they were hollow, they were light. Rampone’s double-wall flutes and clarinets were even adopted by the Italian military. When the patent ran out, other makers started to produce double-wall instruments and they were manufactured until the middle of the 20th century. This lovely double-wall silver flute is exquisitely made sometime around the 1880s. The flute features beautifully engraved decoration on the lip-plate, around the tone-holes and end caps.