The Normaphon

"Norma" was a brand of brass instruments, produced by Richard Oskar Heber approximately between 1900 and 1935. During the "Roaring Twenties" the Saxophon became extremly popular. Due to lacking capacities of good saxophone players, Richard Oskar invented the Normaphon - a hybrid between the Saxophon and the Trumpet.

Roughly 100 instruments of this kind were built approximately from 1924/25 until 1930, and were distributed through wholesalers such as C.A. Wunderlich in Siebenbrunn, R.O. Adler in Markneukirchen and Ammon Gläser in Erlbach. It was very common at that time at Markneukirchen that not the builders, but the wholesalers engraved their names in the instruments. There were a few hundred instrument builders of all kind at the rather small town (approximately 8.000 inhabitants) of Markneukirchen and the surronding area, as well as approximately 20 wholesaler which were able to dictate prices and conditions. Thus, most of the instruments are not labeled by the builders but the wholesalers.
There were four sizes of the instrument (specials possible), but most of the approximately 100 Normaphones were build in Tenor.

Pictures of Normaphones of the Heber Workshop

Normaphones displayed in museums can be found amongst others at the National Music Museum of the University of South Dakota, the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments , the Kenneth G. Fiske Museum in Claremont, California and the Trompetenmuseum in Bad Säckingen.

Scott Robinson is a jazz musician who sometimes performs with the normaphon.

Watch Normaphons being played:

Two short articles about the Normaphon:
    Tarr, E. (1989): The Normaphon. The International Trumpet Guild Journal. 12, 44.
    Buser, E.W. (1987): Für immer verklungen (Jazzophon und Normaphon). Fox auf 78. 4, 66.

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