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  In January 2016 I opened a facebook page called the Ear Trumpet Collection.

I managed to entertain a good number of folk who liked my pictures and comments.

Eventually the insanity which is facebook overcame my enthusiasm and I closed the account.

In case someone wants to see what was posted, I have downloaded the facebook page and reported it here:
These were the two profile images
Combination ear trumpet and spectacles - a Victorian eye fone !!
Cover photos

A custom made ear trumpet using parts of a saxophone
Gold plated auricle which clips on the ear. Note the lovely ear-shaped shadow.
A victorian shell ear trumpet in silver made in France
My world class ear trumpet collection currently has over 300 items, but there are some missing. Here are 2 trumpets I would like to buy - have you got one ? Please view the full wishlist at www.eartrumpets.co.uk/wishlist.php
An ear trumpet in so called 'faux jade'
Some trumpets are prettier than others !
Another pretty ear trumpet grille - lots more at www.eartrumpets.co.uk/grilles2.php
This ear trumpet may be one of a kind. Purchased at auction in Macclesfield, this plated item from about 1820 is absolutely beautiful. Custom made items are usually the prettiest.
This is often mistaken for an ear trumpet, but it is a 'friggar'. An 'end-of-day' piece by a glass worker, sometimes one sees pipes or walking sticks made of glass which occur in the same way.
This ear trumpet was owned by an elderly lady in New York who had two trumpets. A plastic one and this custom-made solid silver one for use only on Sundays !
This F C Rein silver plated trumpet is one of 19 made by them in my collection. Dated around 1875 it has exquisite engraving.
This is one of 4 walking stick ear trumpets in my collection. Made of solid French silver, this is a classic 'London Dome' and was especially made to fit on the end of a tapered Macassar ebony cane. The ferrule is also silver. It is probably dated around 1900.
My granny wore a pair of ear horns. These items affixed by a headband were just huge, rising some 6 inches above her head. Sadly she died when I was quite young and noone told me that they were not permanent and were removed so she could sleep ! This image from my collection shows a smaller auricle that was normally used in pairs and fitted with a headband.
This is a Dentaphone - an early aid to hearing for the deaf. The device is tensioned and then held so that it touches the teeth of the user. They are very rare, less than 10 known to still exist. Patented in the 1890s, several variations were offered by differnt makers and the base price was $10.
This is another unique view of my Saxophone style ear trumpet. Both the specialist dealer in New York and I believe this is a unique bespoke item. It is really quite beautiful to look at and works qute well.
Victorians were sometimes socially embarrased about being deaf. Afflicted ladies sometimes used a fan with an integrated ear trumpet. Because they were so fragile, very few remain. There is one at the Fan Museum (https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk). I have one in the collection in good condition with it's box.
One of the more common ear trumpet styles is called a banjo. This is quite a clever design in that it reduces the overall length required. Most of them are telescopic and fold down when not in use.
I hereby give notice that my collection will be the subject of a Guinness World Record attempt at Hallowe'en 2016. The attempt will be a formal counting for the largest collection of acoustic ear trumpets. Details at GWR. The picture is another Banjo.
Adolphe Pinard (1844-1934) gave his name to the ear trumpets used by the medical profession for listening to foetal hearts. This early wooden example is rarer than hen's teeth and was bought in a lot of 3 pieces - the other two being very ordinary. It works very well and the ivory earpice shows it is a quality work.
In Victorian times glass blowers often finished the day with a spare piece of unused glass. Wages were low and factory owners allowed workers to fabricate an 'end of day' piece known as a 'friggar', of course - in their own time after the 10 hour working day was finished. These were then sold by the worker to enhance his income. Examples include bugles, walking sticks, pipes and rolling pins.
I found this trumpet at an auction in Suffolk. It is constructed rather like a 18th century saucepan but in brass. I am confident that it is a very early trumpet with visible seams and little sophistication. Based on published catalogues from the 1800's it must pre-date and be nearer 1770.
One of my kind followers suggested I display some collection pictures, which is difficult because they are not easy to photograph. This is one of my displays showing mainly small 'London Domes'. When they are arranged like this the huge range of variety becomes more obvious.
One of the more popular acoustic ear trumpets is known as a 'conversation tube'. One end goes in the listener's ear and the other is pointed at the speaker. They are really quite effective in use but somewhat unsightly. Tubes vary from very short to nearly 6 feet long. The horn end may be small as in my photo or quite large - I have seen them as big as 7" in diameter. Victorian courting couples used these tubes to have quiet private conversations whilst being chaperoned. My picture depicts a typical convesation tube and highlights the huge variety in the construction of the actual tube and its cover. The rather pretty woven wool or silk ones were produced on a Jacquard machine. Please view some more variety-related images at http://www.eartrumpets.co.uk/variety.php
I find this a very unintuitive place. Nothing I try seems to work. All I seem to be able to do is add things and they land up where the website wants them, not me. It even adds pictures which I do not want added. I am think of just erasing the whole page because I have not found any benefit from it at all. If I wasn't nuts about this subject I would have given up long ago. Meanwhile here is a picture I did of some grilles photographed from my collection at www.eartrumpets.co.uk/variety.php I would like to re-do it as a collection page without any personal stuff at all does anyone know how to do that ?
As part of my collection I have 70+ medical catalogues and this is a part page from Tiemann 1874. Catalogues are very useful for dating trumpets and suggesting a brand when they are unmarked. My search catalogues utility is at http://www.eartrumpets.co.uk/catalogs.php
I follow several hundred auctions each week. A silver plated ear trumpet only 8cm long just sold for £483 (+commission etc) The condition was abysmal and the auctioneer valued it at £20-50. With the silver being worth only pennies one wonders why it fetched such a price. This solid silver example in my collection was worth every penny:
I have some 70+ catalogues from Victorian times in my collection. These are very useful in both dating and confirming the source brand of trumpets. The picture is one of dozens in my display at this year's Open Studios. see http://www.borderlandvisualarts.com/
Here is another auricle. The item is worn over the ear. They look a bit weird and don't work very well ! This example is sold silver and generally they are becoming quite rare.
People are surprised when I mention that courting couples used conversation tubes in Victorian times when meeting in a chaperoned environment. The tube allowed a couple to discuss things without the minder being able to hear ! Imagine a love seat (two chairs side by side but facing opposite directions). There are over 30 of these tubes in my collection. The pictured example has an unusual coloured braid and ivory ends.
Only 2 weeks now until my new museum display cabinet is finished. I am selling off 4 display cabinets. Buyer collects. If you are interested please email the address shown.
Only a few days until my new museum-style display cabinet is installed. This is a large bookcase with glass doors and moving over 300 items into the display is an interesting issue. I wrote some software that displays where each item should go, with the attendant dimensions, so I can fix the shelves in the right place. The photo shows the arrangement for CAB4.
The new display cabinet is complete.
The countdown to my GWR (Guinness World Record) starts in earnest, I am delighted to announce that my collection has been named the Packington Collection. I have written about conversation tubes before and there are 40 in the Packington Collection. Recently I found a novel way to suspend these weird items in my new display cabinet which has one bay devoted to conversation tubes.
Someone out there must have the ear trumpet for which I am looking. Please look at my wishlist and see if you reconise anything lying in your attic. http://www.eartrumpets.co.uk/wishlist.php
The Museum is now fully displayed in my new cabinet. What an improvement when folk can just see everything without having to root around in small cupboards. The items are better preserved for history and there for all to see. Here is another section.
My new cabinet has 5 sections here is another view of the World Class Packington Collection.
The picture shows a banjo ear trumpet by R Dowling. This is labelled OL330 and was issued by the NHS under the Medresco brand in Mar 1952. I have had an OL331 for years and finally I found this one. I already have the OL332 and now I am looking for an OL333 !
I have been looking for a 'Swan' ear trumpet for 15 years and finally found one. Things are looking up !
They must be like buses. A week after I bought my Swan, another Swan ear trumpet appears on the market. A week back I bought a small 'banjo' trumpet having never seen one before anywhere. This week I found another one same size different brand - extraordinary ! Two shelves left to fill:
I issued the Press Releases yesterday for the Guinness World Records attempt at having the largest Ear Trumpet collection. It is amazing what some people collect ! An interest that has developed into a passion over nearly 20 years, has seen the Packington Collection build to over 370 individual items. I's not just about quantity, the record attempt should validate the Packington Collection as the largest group of different acoustic ear trumpets in the world. The collection features several trumpets not found elsewhere and others which are extremely rare. A catalogue of all the trumpets can be viewed at www.EarTrumpets.co.uk where it is indexed with photographs alongside a wide range of related information and reference material. Myk, a retired photographer, is an active member of Borderland Visual Arts and exhibits regularly in Oswestry.
Here is the public poster for my GWR attempt
Busy trying to get the numbers up for the GWRA on Oct 29th. I just bought a mid 1800's ivory ended tapered conversation tube. They were used as hearing aids not only by the deaf but also chaperoned courting couples so that their conversation remained private. The quality is astounding and this example has historically added dirt cuffs.
It all about to happen. Witnesses briefed, posters up and evidence inventory website programme running OK. A week today we attempt the Guinness World Record. I just bought this stunning silver trumpet embossed with African animals in Canada, hoping it arrives next week !
The Official Record by Guinness for the largest collection of Ear Trumpets is 320. Today the Packington Collection recorded 359 items in an official count. We are awaiting confirmation of a successful Attempt which will take a few weeks while Guinness digest our 57 pieces of evidence.
Those familiar with our wishlist will know that occasionally items come to market that are really rare. Sometimes we don't even know that they exist. To this end a charming lady sold me an ear trumpet this week that she found in her attic. She was expecting £30 but I paid her a fair price of just over £200 as that is what the item is worth. Never seen this in a catalogue or another collection. A japanned brass SPIRAL behive.
Fate is really strange. I have been looking for a short conversation tube for more than 5 years. One came up at auction a few weeks back and sold for several hundred pounds and I walked away. Now another one has come up and I managed to buy it for less than £100. The minor shrinkage on the silk tube cover is not worth hundreds !
Three weeks ago, I found a pair of trumpets at an auction in Cumbria. The sale was scheduled for the following day so there was no time to get details of the items from the auctioneer who described them as 'two ear triumpets'. They have just arrived. One is an OL350 from 1949 and an item I have been seeking for 10 years. The second is a folded trumpet with an unusual dark burgundy japanned finish. For the pair I paid half the price of an OL350 advertised on Ebay this week. Win-win !
Purchased a lovely auricle in brass with a gutta percha earpiece. It also has a headband boss - but the band is missing.
VARIETY... ...is the continual theme of my collection. I never cease to be amazed at the different solutions found by Victorian ear trumpet makers. These 4 grilles are all around the same age and used on London Domes which are quite similar in profile. It can hardly be an aesthetic choice!
Recently we added a strange ear trumpet to the Packington Collection. Constructed from four pieces of vulcanite (a hard rubber based substance) the trumpet features an earpiece with a diaphragm. It is probably more comfortable than the traditional earpiece. I have doubts about the diaphragm doing anything useful !
Recently there has been a spate of nice ear trumpets on Ebay. However, a strange phenomenon is happening. Over the last few years trumpets have been auctioned and prices have risen to reasonable market values. Right now I list 25 trumpets on my Ebay watch list. ALL of them are listed at high prices and BuyItNow. Similar items are listed from $400 to $900 - I bought my example for less than £100. Banjo trumpets sell for £30-120, two are currently listed at over £200 BuyItNow. So a new fashion has arrived. Find an antique, list it on Ebay and price it at 3-5x the market value. Fortunately, I have noticed that sales heve dropped right off. The picture is a recent acquisition - at a sane price.
The Ebay website seems to have too many people selling fake or items with misleading descriptions. See http://www.eartrumpets.co.uk/fakes.php. The two pictures show a well known but out of print book and how it is sold on Ebay.
The book title is blatantly obscured to make searching for the book elsewhere more difficult
I just purchased this exquisite auricle by Blodgett. Dating to 1891 only a very few were ever made. Complete with the tin and it's instructions this is a wonderful find. As far as we can tell only 3 examples are known and to have one in the Packington Collection is great. 3 photos by L Slater
Delighted to report that I have just bought another trumpet making the count 404 - a World Record in the making ! The ear trumpet has an identical grille to two already in the Packington Collection, but has no makers mark. The construction, supported by the distinctive grille means that I have assigned Hawksley as the maker. We now have 3 different shapes of trumpet in the same general materials, finish and grille but in different shapes. the photos show the items.
We now have 3 different shapes of trumpet in the same general materials, finish and grille but in different shapes. the photos show the items. The green background photo is courtesy the Ebay seller.
The Packingto Collection is now firmly past the 400 mark. The latest arrival is a 7-horn masterpiece which I found in Dallas, Texas, USA. Never seen in any catalogue I believe this extraordinary ear trumpet is another one-of-a-kind. With it's revolving ear piece and 7 horns it makes for a very lightweight item with maximum acoustic efficiency. The auction house verify the origin as about 1820 making it about 200 years old.
I regularly buy antique ear trumpets at auction. Primarily on Ebay but also at auction houses all over the world via the internet. Recently I have noticed an unsettling trend. Prices are being pushed up by the marketplace, this is being done by setting high estimates for items on sale. On Ebay, ear trumpet auctions have been replaced almost exclusively by 'But it Now' fixed high prices. I log sales every week and have the last 600 prices for the period 2014 to date. View http://www.eartrumpets.co.uk/pricesummary.php I am delighted to note that trumpets which are very interesting and eminently saleable are being ignored by buyers including myself. One extreme example is of an Australian listing where the item is worth £300-400 and is currently listed at over £1400 ! The item has been on sale for years. The seller has ignored two offers over £500 ! Really rare items sensibly fetch high prices, but I feel people have far too high an expectation of the depth of collectors pockets. Even more unsettling, the worst cases of over pricing are for items of questionable provenance or have been over cleaned. The photo is another view of my unique 7 horn trumpet.
After more than 10 years of searching, I have found and purchased a bugle style ear trumpet by Baugh. There are some about on expensive auction websites but the prices demanded are beyond all sanity. I found one in good condition complete with ivory earpiece for about 20% of the overpriced items. As soon as the trumpet arrives I will post a nice picture, meanwhile here is the auctioneers effort.
I am delighted to report that I observe a new trend on Ebay. Folk are offering trumpets at auction and they are fetching sane prices and selling. The dealers listing trumpets at really high fixed prices are not selling anything - hooray ! Maybe sanity will prevail. The picture shows a rare item made by North of Syracuse NY which I recently purchased at a reasonable price.
Sometimes I find an ear trumpet which is unusual just for some tiny detail. This 1887 London dome made by S.North of Syracuse USA has been patented heavily in both Canada and the USA. For me and the collection the interest is not only the manufacturer but the unusual ribbon ring found on the top of the dome. The collection has 90 London domes but only one other has a ribbon ring.
It is strange how some old artefacts survive. I bought a trumpet recently that came with a silk bag. Some stitching was damaged but otherwise the item was in good nick. Perhaps the trumpet would have arrived at the Packington Collection in better order if the little silk bag had been more used ! As you may see from the pictures the trumpet surface coating is badly eroded.
The market for interesting ear trumpets has been slow since late February. In the last few days, 2 have popped up at auction which are missing from my World Class collection of over 450 items. I just purchased a folded item from about 1870 with a nice embossed label by Arnold and Sons. I do like the ones with a clear brand label. This design attempted to shorten the length of the instrument without affecting performance.

UPDATE Now it has arrived the trumpet is more interesting that I thought. It is much larger than the seller reported - biggest I have seen of this type. Also it is made from 3 distinct metals, brass, tin, copper - all painted matt black. Happy bunny !
  I closed the Ear Trumpet Collection in July 2017