Friedrich Adolf Schmidt
(1827 - 1893)

Friedrich Adolf Schmidt was born March 31, 1827 in the hamlet of Colochau (now Kolochau and incorporated within the community of Kremitzaue), Merseburg district of Brandenburg, Germany, formerly in the Prussian province of Saxony about midway between Berlin and Leipzig. He was the son of innkeeper Johann Karl Schmidt and Johanna Christina Gießmann. Friedrich Adolf is first documented in Köln (Cologne) in 1846 at the age of nineteen probably as an apprentice to Leopold August Matthias Schröder whom he succeeded in business in 1848. Schröder had established himself as a brass instrument maker first in Coblenz in 1812 then moving to Köln in 1822. In 1841 his address was Breitestrasse 72 and in 1846 Breitestrasse 93. In 1847 Schröder applied unsucessfully for patent on a new valve. The following year F.A. Schmidt became his successor continuing to do business in the name of Schröder for some time. Schröder died some time before 1852; that year his widow, Maria Christ E. Schröder was residing at Breitestrasse 93.

F.A. Schmidt was married first November 8, 1851 to Aloisa Nikoletta Sutorius who was born on January 15, 1828. She was the daughter of Josef Konstantin Satorius, a tailor, and Magarete Groß. To this marriage was born Carl Friedrich (C.F.) Schmidt on March 7, 1852, who became a well-known horn maker of Weimar and Berlin. Aloisi died June 5, 1859 and the following year on May 5, 1860 F.A. Schmidt married Margaret Brassart. She was born September 22, 1834 the daughter of Karl Brassart, Schönfärber, and Magarete Flügel. Sources do not indicate which of these marriages produced the other two sons of F.A. Schmidt: Leopold August Schmidt, who succeeded his father in business in 1893, and F.A. Schmidt, junior, who also flourished as a brass instrument maker in Berlin from about 1892 to after 1908.

In 1852 F.A. Scmidt exhibited his products in London. The following year he invented the "Echocornet" in 1853 (see illustration at bottom right).

F.A. Schmidt is also credited with inventing the characteristic "Kölner Modell" horn and trumpet, the "Kölner Druckwerk" (finger lever mechanism), and the "Altkölnerventil" or "Pointventil" brass instrument valve. Herbert Heyde (1987, p.38) doubts, however, that Schmidt was actually the inventor:
Wann Friedrich Adolf Schmidt (1827-1893), der sich 1848 in Köln etablierte, das Pointventil zu bauen begann, is fraglich. Nach der Firemüberlieferung soll er es sogar selbst erfunden haben (Altenburg, 1975, S.98), was sich aber wohl nur auf die werkstattindividuelle Ausprägung von Ventil und Druckwerk ("Original-Kölner Druckwerk") bezieht. Fakt ist, daß Schmidt Ventile und Druckwerke in bester Qualität und eigenwilliger Weise baute, daß die Kölner Maschine geschätzt war wegen ihrer Zuverlässigkeit und auch von anderen Firmen gebaut wurde.

When Adolf Friedrich Schmidt (1827-1893), who established himself in Cologne in 1848, began to build the point valve is questionable. According to tradition about the firm he should have even invented it (Altenburg, 1975, S.98), but it was probably only about the workshop's individual expression of the valve and linkage ("original Cologne mechanism"). The fact is that since Schmidt valves and levers were of the best quality and built in a unique way that the Cologne mechanism was valued because of its reliability and was also built by other companies.

Friedrich Adolf Schmidt died on February 22, 1893 at Huhnsgasse 9, Köln and was succeeded in business by his son, Leopold August Schmidt. His widow, Magarete Brassart Schmidt, died in 1905.

Pointventil mechanism

Valve designed by L. A. Schröder, 1847

F.A. Schmidt Kölner model horn

Echo cornet patent illustration


Special thanks to Marco Rippert for his assistance.


Heyde, Herbert. Das Ventilblasinstrument, Seine Entwicklun im deutschsprachigen Raum von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1987. ISBN 3765102253

Heyde, Herbert. Hörner und Zinken, Musikinstrumenten-Museum Leipzig Katalog Band 5. Leipzig: VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1982.,

Waterhouse, William. The New Langwill Index, A Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors. London: Tony Bingham, 1993. ISBN0-946113-04-1

For further information see also:

Schmidt (Blechblasinstrumentenbauer)  formerly as "Carl Friedrich Schmidt" on Wikipedia Germany and on Lernetwas
courtesy of Marco Rippert.

horn maker's page on Robert Ostermeyer Musikedition

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