Squeeze Horns, Meet Game Calls

Behind the scenes I’ve been fascinated with the horn reeds. I’ve been learning about manipulating pitches etc. But there’s only so much you can do with a hack. So my friend Alvin in India has had the word out about my search for custom reeds and we may have finally found our reed guy. Fingers crossed. In the meantime I recently discovered a whole other world of reeds around the topic of ‘game calls’… these are calls hunters use to attract their prey. It turns out I can use them in our horns. Probably just for novelty, but it may eventually lead to a way I could manufacture my own reeds here or have them made for me. Because what I’d really like to have is the ability to sell pitched horns or sets of horns. Though I have made a few ‘Gershwin Kits’ for smaller orchestras over the last few years successfully, I’d like to have more control and more precise tuning.

Here are some recent videos I shot showing off the horns with game call reeds installed. You probably just need to watch the short one 😉



Allyne sent along some photos of this beautiful, I think 1940s, BSA, now outfitted with one of our 18″ straight horns. Great match.  Love that we can help folks add that extra touch. Thanks for the photos!

18" straight horn on classic BSA motorcycleAllyne fabricated their own attaching bracket. I would love to find a source for all-brass attaching brackets. I had some custom made at one point but they weren’t strong enough. Still on the case though.

Eric’s Wild Ride!

Check it out!
I did write Eric back to suggest attaching his horn to the larger tube. When I hear of folks damaging their horns, the issue is usually that join where the thinner tube meets the fitting to the larger tube. By the way, that’s a fairly easy repair with some JB Weld or a bit of braze if you’re handy with a torch. Also want to link to another more permanent method of mounting your horn with a bit of kit from the hardware store. Thanks for the photos Eric!

The Knights Who Say Bee at Kinetic Grand Champion 2023

The Kinetic Sculpture Race in Arcata CA, since 1969!
Team HalfFast matched one of our replica King of the Road squeeze horns with their amazing ‘The Knights Who Say Bee’. A perfect fit! They took 2nd prize in the Art category, and 1st price in the Pageantry category. Check out the flaming antennae! Watch videos from this amazing event here.Kinetic sculpture, The Knights Who Say Bee used one of our King of the Road bulb horns in this year's race.Kinetic sculpture, The Knights Who Say Bee used one of our King of the Road squeeze horns in this year's race.Kinetic sculpture, The Knights Who Say Bee used one of our King of the Road bulb horns in this year's race.

Louder Than Their Earbuds!

John, the horn arrived early this morning, and has already made it’s maiden voyage.  It’s mounted on my wife’s recumbent trike, and she couldn’t be happier with it. 
Thanks for the great product and prompt service.
I asked Jim how he found us.
We have been experiencing difficulty on the bike paths that we frequent with walkers and slower cyclists who are wearing earbuds and do not hear our overtaking bell rings.  I was looking for a squeeze horn, but all I could find was junk. You’re right! You were near the bottom of my search, but I’m glad that I kept scrolling. Best wishes for your continued success with your small business!
Go ahead and post the picture and the review.  I hope it will help you out.
Thanks for sharing Jim!

Virginia City Players

Before movies had sound, silent films were often accompanied by live musical performances. Often a single piano or organ. But what I didn’t know was that at one time there were elaborate one and two person keyboards, one-man-bands, that some high-end theaters would acquire for their film accompaniment.
That is, until Bill from the Virginia City Players bought a few horns from us and Lindsey, their musical director, sent me photos of the horns set up for use.
The Virginia City Players have a working Cremona Photoplayer, one of the last few in existence.
Lindsey built a stand for the horns and keeps them close at hand.

We’ve made use of them in a couple numbers that we do in our vaudeville show. We don’t allow video/pics during show, so can’t show you those. One is a crazy chicken number, the other is of a traffic jam with wooden cars that people are carrying around.

Thank You Bill and Lindsey for sharing your story and these photos. Check out their website for more information about their shows and amazing old musical instrument collection. VirginiaCityPlayers.com. Here’s the story of their Cremona Photoplayer and its use in our not so distant past.
Virginia City Players Squeezehorn Virginia City Players Squeezehorn Virginia City Players Squeezehorn


Not a Cremona and it uses a player piano roll to make most of the music but you can get the idea here…

Or listen to an NPR story on the Cremona Photoplayer.

Jared’s Forklift!

Jared sent us a photo of his horn in action, at work on his forklift. The 12″ inch straight two-tone is a great choice for this application as it’s loudness and high pitch mean it’s easier to hear over whatever else is going on in the area.
I must say, it makes me happy to see our horns serving an important role in the workplace!
Thanks Jared!

Door Honker!

Thank you Bill! An inspiration!

Hi John,
Attached are two photos showing the new “door honker” installed. It is quite effective! This is only possible in rural settings as the honking would be a problem in suburban or urban neighborhoods. The squeeze horn makes an ideal “door bell” when other alternatives don’t work including wireless doorbells (can’t transmit through metal doors and siding), iron door knockers (not loud enough), or banging one’s hand against the door. A compressed air powered horn doesn’t have any charm. The squeeze horn is perfect! The rubber bulb is “holstered” in a 6″ round float that has been cut out to receive the bulb and protect it from the sun. The horn is tethered to the post using a brass chain.

Horns Attached!

Shout out to Jan who hipped me to a neat piece of kit readily available at most hardware stores. A ‘plumbing grounding saddle’ or ‘ground clamp’ served to get Jan’s horn firmly attached to their golf cart…

Here’s some close ups of a Pro Connex branded clamp I found locally. All the threads are 1/4″ course, so there are a ton of available screw types and sizes available for whatever application you might have. I’d also apply a little threadlocker on the screw that screws into the clamp.
In the photos I have the horn mounted at both the bulb and stem. The clamp itself has teeth, so I did notice some scuffing on the stem. Probably the best bet would be to sheath the stem with a rubber or plastic shim first.