a rare oboe gouging machine

17 07 2006

When Engelbert Brenner passed away in 1986, his family made me the recipient of his entire “musical estate”. I own and cherish Mr Brenner’s Loree oboe & English horn which he played daily in the New York Philharmonic. These instruments are probably about 50 years old, but still play beautifully – especially the English horn. It is truly magical.

I also own, and use, all of Brenner’s reed making tools. There are hand-crafted knives, scores of mandrels, shaper tips, files, plaques, bocals, and calipers. I remember some of the word-of-mouth stories behind some of this equipment. I remember names like Wally Bhosys & A. Wales made some of these tools for him, but the piece of equipment that really stands out as being unique are the oboe & English horn gouging machines. They look like no other gougers I have ever seen. These gougers are made of (I guess) nickel, stand on their own little ornate legs, and are of significant weight. These gougers were hand-made for Brenner by none other than Mitch Miller’s father, who was a machinist. Mitch Miller, known for “Sing Along With Mitch” from the 50s was a classically-trained musician – an oboist, and reportedly a good one. I do not know how many gouging machines he made, or when they were manufactured. If anyone has any information about Mr. Miller’s gougers, I’d love to learn more.

oboe gouger




5 responses

29 12 2006
David Walter

I’m David Walter from the French oboe association AFH and in charge of this association magazine. For the next issue, I would like to present all the gouging machine actually existing. Could it be possible for you to send me some pictures about the product and a text presenting it. No problem if it’s in English, we shall translate it here.
Looking forward to read something from you.
Happy new year

David Walter
47 rue des Sorrières
92160 Antony France

1 10 2007
casimer’s machine « Oboerista - thoughts from an oboist / coffeeist / dad

[…] used this gouger successfully for 10 years, until Mr. Brenner passed away and left me his own gougers in his will. The ‘Casimer Gouger’ needs a good cleaning – sitting in a drawer unused […]

10 02 2009

Hi. I’m looking for information and maybe you can help me. My fiancee recently Masters in Oboe Performance and plays oboe/english horn in local, professional orchestras. The problem is she doesn’t own a gouger, and she is not allowed to the use school’s equipment. I am not musical, let alone knowledgeable about reed making equipment. Is it realistic to think that I could buy her a gouger as a surprise gift or am I way out of my league? I know I could ask her about buying one, but being able to surprise her with one would make the gift that much more special. If you think you could help, please email me. Thanks in advance.

(yes, that’s my real name)

5 04 2009

I am very interested in this machine!
My great uncle is Mitch Miller. I am also an oboe player. I have a job in an orchestra in Australia…
I have not heard that Mitch has any of these machines anymore and would love to know about them and if there are any floating around unloved, as I would love them!

15 05 2012
Carol H. Jewell

My late mother was Ruth Goldstein. She owned several tools crafted by Wally. I remember, as a young child, going into his workshop…it was fascinating.

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