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Elements of Brass Instrument Construction:  Stölzel 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.

Stölzel Valves

This valve type was developed as early as 1814 by Heinrich Stölzel, after whom it is named. The main difference between the Stölzel valve and the Périnet and Berlin valves is that the main tubing enters the piston from below. Two different Stölzel valve models can be distinguished. In the "early model," the piston is guided and the spring is stopped by a horizontal screw, going through the outer casing. In the "later model," the spring is enclosed in a barrel; therefore, no screw is visible at the valve casing. Guidance is provided by a key fitting in a groove or keyway at the valve casing.

Click here to see an animation that shows how air flows through Stölzel valves (requires free Shockwave Player software to view).

Example of the early model Stoelzel valve

I. Early Model Stölzel Valve

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

a = valve casing
b = piston
c = valve loop with slide
d = main tubing
f = touchpiece, finger tip, lever
g = valve stem
h = top valve cap
l = return spring
q = spring barrel or capsule

Early model Stoelzel valve

Early model Stölzel valve with horizontal guiding screw.
Left valve: open.  Right valve: closed.  Valve at far right:  turned 90-degrees.

II. Later Model Stölzel Valve

Example of the later model Stölzel valve
Later model Stölzel valve

Later Stölzel valve with spring inside capsule.

Left valve: open. Right valve: closed.

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