Post Horn

Post HornPost horn, brass musical instrument of cylindrical bore, used by guards of mail coaches in the 18th and early 19th centuries. At the end of the 18th century, post horns were crescent-shaped, coiled, or straight. The notes they sounded were at most six (harmonics 2 to 7). The post horn gave rise to the cornet in the 19th century, when valves were applied to it.

The coach horn, which was like a straight post horn, though longer, was made of copper and was of conical bore. It was used on the London–Oxford mail coach until 1914.

The post horn is an end-blown lip-reed aerophone of the natural type, meaning it is restricted to sounding only a single fundamental and the notes in the harmonic series above it. Originating in Europe, the post horn was historically associated with the service of mail delivery. Even today, well over a century after this instrument fell out of use to signal the arrival of the mail coach to villages, towns, and cities, its image appears on the postal service emblem of many European countries. The post horn pictured here was made in the second half of the 19th century (after 1871) in Germany by an instrument maker who produced such instruments with royal permission.