Kölner Model Horns

(click on photos for larger view)

Horn by F.A. Schmidt, ca 1850
Photos courtesy of Musikinstrumenten-Museum, Leipzig

The term Kölner (Cologne) model horn was coined by Friedrich Adolf Schmidt sometime after 1850. The Kölner design has six sections in the following order: (1) conical leadpipe, (2) valves, (3) cylindrical intermediate piece, (4) tuning slide, (5) conical first branch, (6) bell tail and bell.  The cylindrical portion is about one quarter to one third of the total horn length with the valves are located at one third or slightly less of the total length. This allows for a much longer slow-tapered leadpipe. It is a modification of the model developed by C.A. Mueller in Mainz sometime after 1827. In Cologne F.A. Schmidt built a modified high quality version of Mueller's design from about 1850. By the end of the 19th century and into the first decades of the twentieth  century it was known as the Kölner model. It was often copied by other makers and adapted to local traditions (see other examples, listed below). Until 1890 it was fitted with Altkölner valves or Pointventil (point valves) in which the rotor is supported top and bottom by pointed adjustable screws. Later Schmidt and most others employed mthe Neukölner valve which is essentially the modern single rotary valve.

Another example of the Kölner model horn is by Julius Altrichter, shown top right also in the Leipzig collection, no. 3597.  This horn is very similar if not identical to an anonymous horn in this collection (below right) which is believed to be also by Altrichter. The Altrichter design is built in five sections instead of the six described above, with first branch (5) and bell (6) formed in a single piece.

Other examples in this collection that fit the Kölner typology include the following:

P.E. Schmidt, Copenhagen, 1857

Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory, 1893

Gebr.Alexander, Mainz, ca. 1900

C.E. Doelling, Philadelphia, ca. 1904-1910

C.A. Wunderlich, Siebenbrunn, ca. 1930

Horn by J. Altrichter, ca 1910
Photo courtesy of Musikinstrumenten-Museum, Leipzig

Anonymous German horn probably by J. Altrichter


Special thanks to Musikinstrumenten-Museum, Leipzig for permission to use photos of their instruments and to quote freely in translation from Hörner und Zinken (Heyde, 1980). Also 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 of Wind Instrument Makers and Inventors, pub.Tony Bingham, London 1993

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