Maker: Thomas Cahusac, Sr. (British, London 1714–1798 London)

Date: ca. 1780–90

Geography: London, England, United Kingdom

Culture: British

Medium: Maple, brass

Dimensions: L. 38.1 cm (15 in.); Diam. 2.5 cm (1 in.)

Classification: Aerophone-Blow Hole-side-blown flute (transverse)

Credit Line: Gift of Mark J. Leone, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.365


The fife is a simple, six-hole flute that has traditionally been used for military purposes. Paired with a side drum, the fife was used to give signals to soldiers for all parts of their daily activities.

Thomas Cahusac, Sr., and his two sons Thomas, Jr., and William Maurice were important woodwind makers in London during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. At the height of the company's operation, they also sold string and keyboard instruments and published music.