Flûte à Biberon French

This stop is a variant of the Flûte à Cheminée. Each metal pipe has, instead of a flat cap, a domed cap, to which the chimney is attached. The Flûte à Biberon is said to date from the 1700's, though apparently it was never used by the major builders of the time. The French word biberon means "baby's bottle".

John-Paul Buzard, one of the few builders currently making this stop, describes its tone as “very colorful”, too much so (for his ears) for a 4' stop. It has more of the octave harmonic than the Flûte à Cheminée, on account of having narrow bodies and wider chimneys, and provides a better support for higher-pitched Principals. He gives the specifications for his first prototype 8' Flûte à Biberon as follows:

Note Body
F#55 tapered open pipes with tin slide tuners F#55-C61
C49 22mm 13mm
C37 35mm 19mm
C25 49mm 27mm soldered canisters (caps), domed with chimneys, C25-F54
C13 64mm --
C1 110mm -- external felted canisters (caps) C1-B24

50% tin; 1/4 mouths; high cutups; moderate nicking; moderately open flue. The chimneys have slides for tuning. Buzard has made a number of improvements on this prototype, including starting the chimneys in the tenor octave and starting the tapered pipes at D51 or D#52. He believes that the soldered caps and chimneys are critical to the sound of the stop, giving no chance for leakage, as can happen with the felted (moveable) canisters that are common to other chimneyed stops.

The photograph, courtesy of Buzard Pipe Organ Builders, shows a later vintage Flûte à Biberon pipe, with a wider diameter chimney. Click on the photo for a large image.


Flute a Biberon 8', Great; Chapel of Saint John the Divine, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, USA; Buzard 1991.

Flute a Biberon 8', Swell; St. Leon Church, Montreal, Canada; Guilbault-Therien 1995.

Flute a Biberon 8', Great; Southminster Presbyterian Church, Arlington, Illinois, USA; Buzard 1993.

Flute a Biberon 8', Great; Union United Methodist Church, Belleville, Illinois, USA; Buzard 1993.

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Private correspondence.
Copyright © 2000 Edward L. Stauff, all rights reserved.
FluteABiberon.html - Last updated 23 November 2002.
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