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Elements of Brass Instrument Construction:  Berlin Valves

Piston Valves

The piston valve consists of a cylindrical outer casing (a) and the piston (b) inside, which fits tightly within the outer casing. The valve loop (c), as well as the main tubing (d), are soldered to the outer casing. The piston is perforated with ports (e) that lead the air stream either straight through the main tubing or into the valve loop. The valve loop is disengaged or engaged by the up-and-down movement of the piston within the casing that aligns the ports either with the main tubing or the valve loop.

Berlin Valves

Example of a Berlin valve

This type of piston valve was developed in Berlin both in 1827 by Heinrich Stölzel and independently in 1833 by Wilhelm Wieprecht. The inlet and outlet for the valve tubing is arranged on the same plane as the main tubing. As a result, the casing for the Berlin valve is more bulky than it is for the other types of piston valves.

Berlin Valve Diagrams

Parts of a piston valve (letters refer to diagrams at right):

a = valve casing
b = piston
c = valve loop with slide
d = main tubing
e = port
f = touchpiece, finger tip, lever
g = valve stem
h = top valve cap
k = lower valve cap
l = return spring
m = guiding slot in stem/piston
p = piston guiding screw

Left: top view (left first valve closed, second valve open);
Right: side view of piston, casing and main tubing

Berlin valve

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