Oscar Abella - Tuba and early brass instruments
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Many types of pistons and valves were developed in the first third of the 19th century, with patent-related legal struggles and wars included. The real origin of both the piston and the rotary valve is in doubt, but there is some data: Heinrich Stölzel and Friedrich Blühmel patented their “box piston” in Prussia in 1818 (a variant of the piston that Stölzel himself used 4 years before and which we don't have a precise description) and, in collaboration with W. Schuster, they created instruments equipped with kastenventile (square box pistons); In 1823, surely inspired by a similar model developed by C.F. Sattler two years earlier, the Vienna double-piston valve, driven by a push-valve system (doppelrohr-Schubventil), was patented by J. Kail and J.F. Riedl; The latter patented in 1835 a rotary valve similar to the one we see in modern tubas, although some sources claim that it was invented in 1824 by the American Nathan Adams and we found another Blühmel patent in 1828 (who would already be experienced with this system since a decade earlier); Leopold Uhlmann patented in Vienna in 1830 an improved version of the double tube valve of Kail and Riedl; the Berlin piston will be created around 1828 by Wilhelm F. Wieprecht (precursor of the tuba next to Moritz); and the French manufacturer François Périnet will patent in 1838 the piston we find in today's tubas and euphoniums, with less pronounced tube curves than in the previous systems. The invention of the compensated piston system is attributed to the Briton David James Blaikley in 1874, with an 1878 patent.

box pistonsW. Schuster trumpet with two square box pistons (ca. 1824, Karlsruhe). Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
Pistón StölzelStölzel Piston (source: University of South Dakota).
vienna valveVienna double-piston valve (source: The Arizona State University Horn Studio).
berlin pistonBerlin Piston (illustration: Eric Ortner).
rotary valveRotary valve (source: Mogens Andresen).
Piston PérinetPérinet Piston (source: Mogens Andresen).
compensated pistonCompensated system (source: David Werden).
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