Rick Wilson's
Historical Flutes Page

10-key flute by S. Koch, Vienna, c.1815

This web site presents photos of, descriptions of, and information about historical European and American flutes from the renaissance to the 20th century. In addition, we give related historical material about performance practices and report on the author's experiences playing these instruments.

The old flutes have great charm and character. And they have much to teach us about the flute music written at the times when they were made.

Except where otherwise noted, all photographs of flutes are of instruments in the author's collection. A number of these flutes are modern copies of early instruments, but the majority are antique flutes made between c.1750 and c.1930. There are many personal opinions expressed in these pages, but they are based, it may be hoped, on knowledge and experience as well as taste, he said modestly. All original photographs and essays are © Copyright 2003–2008, 2011, 2018, 2020 by Richard M. Wilson. These photos and essays may be copied for personal use, or use in moderation on web pages, etc., as long as I am clearly acknowledged as the source. All but very minimal use of the photos or essays on the web should be accompanied by a link to these pages.

I am happy to get feedback, comments, and corrections. I also appreciate notice of links established to this site, or that excerpts have been posted or used. Click here to email

This site is a work in progress. Here is a record of UPDATES (to be updated soon) to this page, where you can see what is new or recent. Click here for some notes on musical and fingering notation and terminology.

Search this site:

Historical overviews (European and American flutes)

More details on types of flutes, or on specific instruments

World flutes; ethnic flutes



Click for links to a four page interview with me about this web site, that originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of the New York Flute Club Newsletter.

A sample lecture/demonstration program.

Click here for an announcement of a lecture/demo and recital on historical flutes, Jan. 13, 2007, in West Los Angeles. Click here for sound samples and information about Ensemble KrazyKat's Konzert of Kuhlau and Köhler, presented June 12, 2005 in Berkelely, CA, on 19th century flutes with an 1857 Streicher grand piano.

Click here for links to the personal pages of Kathy and Rick (outdated) including some flute-related links and photos. Click here for Kathy's music-related jewelry page (jewelry no longer available).

Click here to email .