I have posted before about my fascination with the ‘Enharmonic’ system that Besson introduced at the turn of the last century, in competition with Boosey’s Compensating System and Highams (and Hawkes too) 5 valve alternatives Having two models myself, the 3v http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/highams/Vintage Euphoniums/?action=view¤t=3venharm1.jpg And the 4 valve version; http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/highams/Vintage Euphoniums/?action=view¤t=enh2a.jpg I was thrilled to receive an email from a guy called Romain from France, who has a wonderful collection of instruments; http://pagesperso-orange.fr/musibrass/pages/ma_collectionpag.html telling me of his 4 valve model dating from 1893 with even more tubing than mine; http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k309/highams/Vintage Euphoniums/?action=view¤t=romain5.jpg On my two models, the leadpipe goes directly into the 3rd. valve, which determines which set of slides are used (see the explanation below). Thus the system only operates on 3 valves, leaving the 4th. to it’s own (sometimes sharp of course) devices. On closer inspection, his model has the leadpipe going directly into the 4th. valve which again, directs the airflow one way or another if depressed, so every valve is in the system. What a wonderful thing to produce & market to brass bands of that era! Chas Enharmonic System, Brief Description; Besson came up with the idea of adapting the system used on the full double French Horns, that of offering two sets of slides for different parts of the range, and my very rare Besson ‘Enharmonic’ Euphonium is the latest addition to the collection. The 3 tuning slides for the middle and upper register notes are at the back of the instrument, and a longer set (for lower notes) is then placed on the front. Now here’s the complicated part, the mouth-pipe leads directly into the 3rd.valve instead of the 1st. If the 3rd. valve is not used, the wind-way goes through into the 1st. & 2nd. valves in the normal way, and back through the 3rd. to the bell, having used the short set of slides. If the 3rd. is operated, the wind-way goes through the 1st. & 2nd. valves by a different route, including a tuning slide, and is directed through separate longer loops of tubing (having used the front set). The whole range of valve instruments (except the Soprano Cornet) was available in enharmonic form, however, the obvious weight problems when you get to the tubas must have been enormous, which is probably why only 3 valve models were made of the monster double B flat tubas. The range was eventually discontinued.