© MIM Photo Anne Deknock
  • IND ?> Inv. number


  • CN/NP ?> Common name / Nominal Pitch

    Oboe cane gouging machine

  • MK ?> Maker

    Brod, Henri

  • IN ?> Mark, inscriptions

    H.Brod / A Paris.

  • SN ?> Serial number (?)243 – See TD Technical Description.
  • PL ?> Place of origin Paris
  • DM ?> Date of making 2nd quarter of the 19th century, most probably after 1830.
  • MATERIALS Gouging machine in brass and iron. Box in mahogany with brass handle and lock.

    Box: WxDxH: 204mm x 145mm x 68mm (+8.6mm for handle).

    Gouging machine base plate WxDxH: 175mm x 87.7mm x 28.8mm.


    Gouging machine, including guillotine, for oboe cane, detachable from box. Inside spaces for cane, reeds and machine head handle.

    Cane bed diameter c.13.5mm.

    Knife diameter not measurable.

    Cane bed length c.73mm.

    The screws in the bottom of the base plate are numbered. It is not clear whether these are figures for assembly purposes, or if two of these figures make the serial number ‘243’.

  • FL ?> Faults

    Excellent condition, gouge blade blunt.

  • PO ?> Previous Ownership

    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.III p.227: “Gift of Guillaume Guidé, professor at the Brussels Royal Conservatorium”. According to the Annuaires du Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles (1890) p.83 (see B-Bc SS48) this donation was in 1890. See Verdegem (2008b) on Guidé.

  • FM ?> Further information on maker

    Fétis (1866) pp.78–9.

    Ventzke (1977).

    Lardrot (2001).

  • SR ?> Specific literature Reference

    Mahillon (R1978) Vol.III p.227.

  • Remarks

    This invention dates probably from after 1830 since the 2nd part of Brod’s Méthode pour le Hautbois (1830) p.110 (Planche VI) does not depict this machine on the illustration page with the reed making tools, or discuss it in the reed making explanation.


    According to the Revue Musicale de Paris of 13 july 1834 p.221 Henri Brod (1799-1839) is the inventor of this gouging machine, (“...Mr. Brod vient d’inventer une machine fort ingénieuse...”, "...Mr. Brod recently invented a most ingenious machine...") of which the principles remain unchanged until today. This source thus dates the invention of the reed gouging machine c.1834.


    A.M.R.Barret (1850) p.17 depicts an identical gouging machine in his Oboe Method, as well as Triebert (1855), p.4-5 “Rabot mécanique pour anches de Hautbois, avec sa boîte en acajou”. (Mechanical gouger for oboe reeds, with its mahogany box).


    According to Ventzke (1977) p.348, Henri Brod made instruments from c.1830 until his death, together with his younger brother Godefroy, who left France at the latest in 1837 to become an oboist in St Petersburg. Ventzke also states that Brod might have got help from his father Jean Henry Brod, who was registered as a luthier and organ maker. Taking this theory further, it might also be possible that Jean Henry Brod, who survived his son by 10 years, went on making instruments and/or gouging machines under the name of his son after his death, or – as a subcontractor – for other makers.


    Pierre (1893) p.322 reports that Brod exhibited oboes and a gouging machine at the Paris Exposition Industrielle of 1839, but Brod died at the time of this exhibition. He was awarded a bronze medal post-mortem by the jury for his instruments.


    Unlike some Triebert gouging machines, the Brod one gouges the whole length of the cane.


    It is not clear what a gouged cane looks like, and whether the sides of the cane have the same thickness as the centre. Brod (1830) himself advises in his method p.113 that the thickness of the cane should be ¾ of a millimetre (0.75mm, SV) in the middle of the cane, and gradually become thinner towards the sides of the cane. He also states that it is very difficult to hand-gouge the cane very equally over the whole length, and that a scraping tool might be helpful.


    Brod (op.cit., p.110) also states that the oboe cane diameter should be 10–11mm, but one page further (p.111) he states that it should be 11–12mm, and that the cane length should be 7cm. This cane length matches more or less the present gouging machine, only the cane bed diameter is definitely larger than 12mm. It seems that this machine is not meant for English horn cane, since Brod states on p.116 that English horn cane length should be 9 centimetres.


    It is not clear if the figures on the base plate make a serial number. It is reported that some Brod oboes have a number.