The Carte 1867 System flute

The Carte 1867 System flute, manufactured by Rudall, Carte & Co., differs from the Carte 1851 System flute only in the right hand, in the fingerings of F and F#. Like the 1851 flute, it features an open G#, two thumb keys for B and Bb, and the "open D". Rudall Carte provided them, as they did their other flutes, in both metal and wood. The top instrument below was made in 1891, and the lower one in 1912. The pitches are about A=455 and A=440, respectively.

The metal instrument is stamped "Carte and Boehms systems combined".

The wooden instrument has two sections only.

It has received a lot of use, as can be seen from the wear on the thumb keys, for example. The decorative ring is worn completely away on the B key (see the key on the right below); a good amount of thumb sliding was done on this instrument. But the flute still plays well.

There are two touches for RH1 on the 1867 flute; see the photo below. The player is usually to choose one, although there some are instances when one wants to press both momentarily. The upper touch gives F#, and the lower touch gives F natural. This may seem awkward at first, but it soon becomes easy and natural. (It is rather like the thumb having two keys to control, the B and Bb.)

F# is also available with the left hand fingers plus RH3, as on the Boehm flute. The long F key and the forked F implemented on the 1851 System flute are no longer needed, and are removed on the 1867 flute.

Here is the view from the audience side. A post attached to the F key, the lower key for RH1, depresses the pad to sound F.

The short F key remains and is useful in some instances. There are three fingerings for Bb: The thumb key, of course, is one. The F key close the Bb key, and so gives a fingering for that note just as on the Boehm flute. And the short F key also closes the Bb key to give a fully vented note, like the side lever on Boehm flutes.

Anthony Baines has written (1962) "It is an excellent design, in some ways technically superior to the Boehm, and the mechanism, though it is complex, is positive in action and never goes wrong". Well, my experience is that it takes some effort to get adjusted right. I had to make a number of trips to the technician to get these flutes working. But they have remained in good condition, and I strongly agree that it is an excellent design.