Worswick s/n 7

An Obscure Boston Maker from the 1930’s

Ashton Worswick flute #7. Solid silver, handmade, closed hole, inline G, C-foot, Bb shake, soldered tone holes, gold springs, 0.014” tubing, A=440Hz.

Ashton Worswick was best remembered as one of the first three, and most experienced, workers employed by Verne Q. Powell at the onset of his workshop on Huntington Avenue, opposite the New England Conservatory. Being the foreman of Selmer, Worswick was already a seasoned flutemaker and skilled machinist. There is no doubt that he was the man who made most of the tooling for Powell. Powell was using Selmer parts for a very short time until his tooling was in order. A good full time machinist would be able to make enough tools in a few short months to enable an ongoing flute production line. Worswick was surely responsible for making the tooling for the Commercial Model drawn tone hole flutes during his first year of employment. Powell did not deliver his first Commercial Model flute until his second year in business. Worswick’s contributions to the Powell legacy have a much longer lasting effect than his actual tenure with the company.

Worswick did not stay long at Powell. He left in 1930 during the Depression to try his hand at making his own flutes. It was a short lived dream, but he persisted over the next decade and made about 10 flutes while working for other flute companies in Boston. Worswick # 7 is a fine example of his work, similar to Powell’s early flutes. The design, scale, ergonomics, mechanics, and many details are much alike. Worswick might have sourced many parts from Verne Q., or at least produced the parts himself on the tools and dies that he made for his former boss just a few years earlier. Even the engraving typeface he chose for his logo was reminiscent of Powell’s. There are some artificial differences in their logos that may point to the fact that someone was trying to hide the structural similarities of the two. It could have been Verne Q. himself who did the engravings. It is also quite possible that Powell had to let Worswick go because of the economic pressure of the Depression. Helping him with building his own flute was perhaps a goodwill gesture. If anything, Worswick respected Powell’s flutes enough to pick a similar font design.

Flute #7 is in excellent condition, perfect mechanism and pad adjustments. The tone is clear, robust, and very even. It plays like an early Powell with quick response, fast and smooth action. The very small embouchure hole Worswick chose for this flute produces a sound that is sweet, beautiful and full of colors. It does take some finesse to master an undersized but well cut embouchure hole. In the 1930’s, America’s high end handmade flute market was shared by Powell and Haynes. There were many other flutemakers and startups who sold lesser quality flutes. But Worswick was not one of them. His flutes are carefully made in the same tradition as Powell and Haynes. He was the first "spin off" act from Powell, way ahead of Friedrich von Huene, Edward Almeida, and much later and more significant, the Brannen Brothers, plus so many others!

Maker’s mark on body and headjoint, serial number on body.

The embouchure hole measures 10.03 x 11.94 mm.

Sounding length is 599 mm.

Headjoint length is 8-1/2”.

The flute weighs 400 grams.

Please see detailed photos below.

Price is $5,000 USD, $55 shipping to USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For more information please email Alan Weiss at alan@vintagefluteshop.com