Heckel has manufactured bassoon bocals for as long as they have been manufacturing bassoons. Since the bocals do not have serial numbers, it is quite a bit more difficult (if not impossible) to track the history of an individual bocal. This page will discuss the markings on a Heckel bocal and some manufacturing changes which can be used to date an individual bocal to some degree.
A modern Heckel bassoon bocal has the following stampings:
There is a newer Heckel bocal design that utilizes the additional letter R. These bocals have no stampings on the body of the bocal; all stampings are around the metal band at the bottom of the cork end of the bocal; Example 1, Example 2.
There are two other manufacturing attributes of the bocal which are not stamped on the bocal; the plating and the style of the bend. The type of plating can be determined by a trained eye and direct observation of the surface of the bocal. (details from Heckel web site).
The production of bocals breaks-down into 2 general periods, pre-war (before 1945) and post-war (after 1945). There was not an abrupt change in bocal manufacturing techniques at the time of World War II, but the fact that the factory's tooling was dismantled and stored during the 1943-1946 time frame meant that things might be different once production was re-started.
All of the bocal stampings except the bore design and bore length changed from the pre-war to the post-war periods. Modern Heckel bassoon bocals have their stampings diagonally across the bore of the bocal. A typical pre-war bocal has the stampings running parallel to the bore, with some actually having the stamping on the top of the bocal instead of on the side. Here is an example of a pre-war bocal with the Made in Germany and Wz. ges. geschützt stampings running parallel to the bore; on this particular bocal, the bore design and length are actually on the top of the bocal and the Heckel Biebrich stamping is even further around the bocal.
Pre-war Heckel bassoon bocals have a couple of distinctive differences in their markings. First, the text HECKEL BIEBRICH on a pre-war bocal is usually all stamped in one continuous line of text and the text is in mixed upper/lower case, along with a comma and a final period:
Heckel, Biebrich.Here is an example of a pre-war Heckel Biebrich stamping
Post-war Heckel bassoon bocals have this text stamped as:
With the word HECKEL stamped above the word BIEBRICH, as in this picture.
On pre-war bocals that were shipped with a new Heckel bassoon, the manufacturing mark of the bassoon was also marked on the bocal. This marking is not often seen; it is a small set of grooves punched onto the big end of the bocal. A bassoon with a production mark of 3 would have been shipped with bocals that had 3 small grooves punched on the end of the bocal. These days it is very rare to find an old Heckel bassoon with its original bocals.
Very old Heckel bassoon bocals do not have a whisper key vent; they simply have a hole. This was true even though some early Heckel bassoons were not originally manfactured with a whisper key. Many of these very old bocals have been updated during the years and a whisper key vent has been added.
One other typical bocal variation is an on/off flip switch on the bocal. With this bocal vent setup you set the bocal vent to open or closed. There is no keywork to change the setting. This is a photo of such a bocal vent.
For a short period immediately following the end of the war, there were some CC bocals that were actually stamped with one of the Cs slightly larger than the other. These are commonly called big-C/little-c bocals. Modern CC bocals are stamped with a single stamp that stamps both letters at once.
Here are a couple of pictures of a 3000-series bocal stamping: View 1, View 2.
An unusual stamping of a CC bore with the Cs facing each other.