Friday, August 8, 2014

Aurumite® Patented by Powell

Summer 1991 issue of the Powell Newsletter

With the unveiling of our Ruby Aurumite® Custom flute this week at the 2014 NFA Convention, we thought it might be a good time to learn more about Aurumite and its history with Powell.  We opened the archives and found that the Verne Q. Powell Flutes Newsletter from the summer of 1991 highlighted Aurumite, describing its formation and noting its patent date and number.  The newsletter states:
On October 9, 1990, U.S. Patent 4,962,007 was assigned to Verne Q. Powell Flutes for "Flute tubing of laminated metal including a bonded layer of precious metal alloy."  This technology was invented and developed at Powell.  The issuance of the patent is recognition of the originality of this technical conception.  It also means that no other flute or headjoint maker can use this technology without obtaining a license from Powell.  To date, no licenses have been issued.
If you are wondering how Aurumite was developed -- and how it is formed -- the newsletter provides more details on the history and process:
For the past four years, Powell has been using a proprietary fusion technology to create unique combinations of precious metal flute tubes.  The idea behind this invention was that the inside layer of metal made more difference in the sound than the outside layer.  The challenge, therefore, was to find a way of concentrating expensive precious metals like gold or platinum on the inside of a sterling silver tube.
Powell's concept was to put a flute tube of one precious metal inside another.  The inner "tube" would be made of a relatively dense and expensive precious metal compared to the other tube.  The patented process accomplishes this by metallurgically bonding sterling silver and 14k gold to each other while each is still in sheet (or flat) form.  The resulting laminated sheet is then cupped and drawn into flute tubing just like most other flute tubes are made.  
The version of this fusion technology which has become most popular over the past four years is AurumiteI.  In this form, the inner layer of the tube is Powell's regular 14k gold alloy, and the outer layer is comprised of sterling silver.  Flutists who own Aurumite I flutes or headjoints like the excellent projection of this material combined with a warmth and sweetness normally associated with gold.
Unlike plated flute metals, Powell's Aurumite is work hardened.  It can be filed and polished in the same way as normal flute tubing.  Not only is Aurumite metal hard compared to a plated flute, but the gold layer is approximately 35 times thicker than normal plating.
The "Aurumite I" mentioned in the newsletter excerpt is Powell's current "Aurumite 14k," which is sterling silver on the outside and 14k gold on the inside.  Ruby Aurumite, the newest member of the Aurumite family, is 14k gold on the outside and silver on the inside.  For more information on the new Ruby Aurumite flutes, click here to visit the Ruby Aurumite page on the Powell website.

Powell Aurumite 14k Custom Flute
Powell Ruby Aurumite Custom Flute

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