This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Jan 21, 2013

Dutch advertisements - Part I: The Colonies

Finding out when the first nose flutes were available in the Netherlands is a difficult if not impossible task. However, at least we can date when they (first?) appeared in the newspaper advertisments.

I found many ads selling neusfluiten in the dutch press, and was surprised to discover the first ones were published in the colonies. Indeed, the Kingdom of the Netherlands had colonized numerous regions of Southeast Asia, where the locals were used to play traditional nose flutes. Well, the metal nose flutes sold there were destined to the conquerors, not to the natives.

The first ad I found dates of June 30, 1923, and was published in the Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad. The shop — Toko "De Leeuw"— was based in Weltevreden (Jakarta).

While the is no proof the item was a metal "urban type" neusfluit in this 1923 ad (it could have been a silingut or a mongurali, why not?), there is, on the other hand, no doubt that the nose flutes sold by W. Naessens & Co. in 1924 in Batavia (Jakarta), were of the modern type: they are announced after modern songs or sorted among other Jazz instruments (trumpets, xylophones, jazz-flutes, etc.)

The following ad, first published Oct. 16, 1925 in De Indische Courant (Indonesia) is very interesting by several points. First, it shows a drawing of the flute. But more, the flute is displayed beside another item — the Fanfare sing-shalm: both of these instruments (and their drawings!) coming directly from the early 1920's Max Adler international catalogue.
Note that the nose flute has no upper lip rest, and thus, looks very very similar (no evidence it is it, however) to the Wunderflöte (first version, the Goldstein's one).

De Indische Courant ad:

The Max Adler catalogue:

The first version of the Wunderflöte:

The Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad continuously hosted advertisements for neusfluiten, by different competitors. However, there is no doubt they all were selling the same items, coming from the Max Adler catalogue.
Following, ads from 1925 and 1927. In the 1927 one, it is written "Neusfluit: met handvat (nieuwste)" meaning "Nose flute: with handle (newest)"! What was this "new" nose flute with a handle? I do not know the 1927 Max Adler catalogue but, as far as I know, any nasenflöte available in german catalogues from 1925 and until (at least) 1936 were the ones made in Brunndöbra by Paul Brunner. And had no handle.
The only nose flute I know with a handle is the Cello-Phone. Was that the description of this English or American instrument? I would be surprised of that...

(Note that the Fanfare whistle was a product by Paul Brunner)

The german nasenflöte from Brunndöbra and the Cello-Phone:


In 1929, the flame for nose flutes was not extinguished in the colonies, and De Algemeene Muziekhandel Stiphout announced in De Sumatra Post that the shop had received again some stock.

The rhythm of ads for nose flutes decreased then, but those didn't totally disappear. Here in June 1937 (De Indische Courant) and for Saint Nicholas Day 1938 (Soerabaijasch Handelsblad, Surabaya):

As in any Western country, the metallic early nose flute sales stopped then. Gretsch launched the polystyrene Humanatone that was especially packed to be sent to the Boys at war.

Surprinsingly, on Dec. 3, 1953, the Java-Bode newspaper published an advertisement for neusfluiten, as gifts for Saint Nicholas Day. Were they plastic Humanatones? Probably. Or maybe the flat metal one produced in Japan?

>>To be continued!


On the same topic:

- Dutch advertisements - Part I: The Colonies
- Dutch advertisements - Part II: Mainland



  1. A great collection of articles and a great combination of information!

    I am surprised about the various prices of nose flutes: ranging from 2 Florins in 1923 to 75 cents in 1925 through to 1927, eventually down to 25 cents in 1937 and still just 25 cents in 1953....

    I reckon the earliest nose flutes in the Indies were so expensive because they were quite fashionable at the time and had to be imported?

  2. Thanks Maikel!

    Yes, I was surprised to find so many!
    In fact, you've got a great website:

    The price: I suppose that, yes, it was high when the instrument was fashionable and very new. Then, it decreases quickly, with the numerous competitors