[Skip to content] [Skip to main navigation] [Skip to user navigation] [Skip to global search] [Accessibility information] [Contact us]


This euphonium was made by Besson at their London factory in the early 1890s. The euphonium was and remains popular within the brass band tradition and its design has changed little in the intervening years. The only major changes have been a slight widening of the bell neck and the introduction of compensating valve mechanisms. Such mechanisms allow the instrument to play in tune when the valves are used in combination, which is otherwise very difficult as there is a tendency for the instrument to play sharp. Besson employed a number of compensating mechanisms on their instruments including the three valve system (see Horniman Museum number 2004.826). However, the system that would become most popular in the 20th century, the Blaikley four valve system, was patented by Besson's rivals Boosey & Son and was already in use by the early 1880s, as the Boosey & Co. euphonium, Horniman Museum number 2004.833 demonstrates.

See full details Description

Euphonium. Brass. Four Périnet valves, non-compensating. The fourth valve is side-mounted and horizontal for left hand operation. The upper bow is directly behind the upper rims of the main valve casings. The loops for valves one and two are on the back, those for valves three and four on the front. Water key on the main tuning slide, which is on the front on the first bow after the leadpipe. Most stays have wide waists. Bell stamped: 50 MEDALS OF HONOUR/F. Besson/ 'Prototype'/198 EUSTON ROAD/LONDON; with serial number: 45207


Musical Instruments

Broad category
Musical Instruments, Aerophone
Additional names, titles, or classifications
catalogue name:  euphonium
object name:  euphonium
catalogue title:  423.231.2

Additional maker information
Besson, F.
London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England, UK, Western Europe, Europe
Additional place information
made or collected:  London Borough of Camden 
Date made
circa 1890
Additional date information
circa 1890 

overall: 670 x 250 x 345 mm
Additional measurement information
overall: 670 x 250 x 345 mm

Built in B flat, the euphonium is a tenor member of the tuba family and is an indispensable member of the wind orchestra and brass band.

Related people
Boosey & Hawkes
Related subjects
association: Military Music
association: Camden
association: Leisure
association: Musical Instrument Making
association: Brass Bands
object name: euphoniums

Record created 1999-12-26 by RPERKINS
Record last updated 2017-01-31 by GDIXON