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The Andreas van Zoelen collection 

Birker

Tenor saxophone. Made in Tilburg, Netherlands
Birker
N/A
Tenor
1924
Netherlands
Bb
B-F
Brass
20
76.1
Notes on this instrument

This is a very interesting instrument to me.

I concluded, looking at the other Birker saxophone I own: https://saxophonemuseum.online/instrument/birker/ and studying several sources, that he based the design of his saxophones on Kessels’ instruments, but developed them much further, not in the last place because of the simple fact that the Birker company was in existence longer than Kessels.

This particular instrument though, was clearly built by the Kessels company, which, bearing this particular inscription, dates it between 1914 and 1924. If you compare the inscription with the one on this instrument: https://saxophonemuseum.online/instrument/konefa-2/, you see that Birker filed of the embles and the word ‘koninklijk’ to replace it with his own name! So, at the start of his career as an indepent builder, he used stock from the Kessels plant when it was dissolved in 1924!

Comparing the serialnumber, given to this instrument by the Kessels company, to the Konefa saxophones, it can be dated to around 1924.

By the way, ‘Konefa’, the company that was founded by two former Kessels employees on the exact day that Kessels was dissolved, did the same. They, however, put their inscription under the existing ones.

Johann Birker  came to Tilburg in 1899 to work in the Kessels factory. He started his own company in the mid 1920s, after the Kessels company was dissolved in 1924. Birker went bankrupt in 1931.

the Birker workshop in Tilburg, second half of the 1920s

My book about the saxophone in the Netherlands, in which I write about Birker, can be accessed on my website:

https://vanzoelen.eu/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/proefschrift-van-zoelen.zip

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