Niall O'Riordan

Flute Soloist  


Gold Powell Flute for $900! How times have changed

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM

On the 18th April 1928 the first 14K gold Powell flute was completed. In those days one would set you back $900. How times have changed!


I find examining Verne Q Powell’s original brochure which you can find here fascinating.


This charming historic document also tells us a lot about flute aesthetics of the time. It seems that volume of tone was an important factor for these players with comments like ‘beautiful tone quality, with plenty of volume behind it’. It is something that hasn’t changed very much 84 years later, from my experience players always choose the loudest flute. If you play an original Louis Lot that has not been re-tuned and has its original lip plate you will note these flutes were made with sweetness of tone in mind rather than volume.


Options include closed or open G#, low B, C# trill and $25 for an 18k lip on the silver flutes. 18k rather than 14k liplates were common by the French Makers. A combination I think still works very well. No e-mechanism or openhole offset is listed on the brochure!


William Kincaid writes

‘Permit me to express my sincere admiration and high esteem for your noteworthy achievement in making it possible for flautists of today to have and to play upon an instrument which is without doubt in my mind one of the finest instruments to be had. I wish you great success’

Powell still make very fine instruments, my favorite is the 19.5K flute with the Venti cut headjoint


For more about Powell flutes visit their website

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1 Comment

Reply Rebecca Weissman
3:47 PM on June 5, 2012 
Hello Niall. Thank you so much for posting this on your blog. We're so glad that you enjoyed seeing this historical document. Thank you, also, for the link to our website. We look forward to seeing yo at the British Flute Convention!