Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Spit-be-Gone brass instruments

  [vote for,

Brass instruments are simply lovely - tubas, souzaphones, French horns, cornets, stopffungbugels, trumpets...

Of course, problems arise when people decide to try playing them. Quite apart from the noises they make, there is an additional unsavoury aspect to brass instruments: every few minutes, the player has to get the spit out of them.

Depending upon the instrument in question, this may involve complex three-axis rotations, rather like trying to get a marble out of one of those mazes. Or the instrument may have one or more spit-valves which can be operated slightly more discreetly. In either case, though, it is not a pretty sight.

Fortunately, MaxCo. has the answer, as always. Our "Spit-be-Gone" range of brass instruments (available in all forms from the diminutive B-sharp pfeffenspatze right up to an F-ubertuba) are each equipped with one or more internally-mounted nichrome heating elements located at the low-points of the plumbing. Power comes from a convenient non-tangling mains lead (please specify length when ordering: solo, orchestral or marching band).

The heating elements maintain a constant 120°C, ensuring that spit is vaporized as fast as it accumulates, emerging as inoffensive steam.

Of course, over time the heating elements will become engrunged with the non- volatile components of saliva. However, an inobtrusive switch can periodically activate the self-cleaning function, causing the heating elements to reach over 450°C for a few minutes.

Spit-be-Gone instruments eliminate the unsavoury practice of having to disgorge accumulated saliva mid-way through a performance - but there is more! The plumes of steam emanating from the instrument can immediately tell a conductor which members of the brass section are really playing, and which are merely paying lip service.

MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 12 2015

Warmed.Brass Band Warmed_20Brass_20Band
Prior art, extensible to the the whole horn and higher temps. [csea, Dec 13 2015]


       Better, shirley, to heat the whole instrument to a uniform 37°C, and prevent the moisture from condensing in the first place?
mitxela, Dec 12 2015

       Since we woodwind players are morally obligated to pull practical jokes on the brassists, I'm left wondering how effective a flamethrower would be created by an ounce of high-test tater juice in a Sousaphone.
lurch, Dec 12 2015

       //prevent the moisture from condensing// The problem is not condensation (unless you're playing in a cold room). The viscosity of the effluvium indicates that it's mostly good old fashioned spit.   

       //an ounce of high-test tater juice in a Sousaphone// Most of the brass players I know would just suck before they started playing.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 12 2015

       Sadly, not all of them stop sucking thereafter.
pertinax, Dec 13 2015

       [link] for related prior art.
csea, Dec 13 2015

       [csea], if I were fighting a patent case, I would point out that (a) your prior art makes no mention of purposefully evaporating accumulated saliva (b) the temperatures proposed in your prior art would be underadequate for the timely evaporation of said saliva and (c) increasing the temperature of your prior art to temperatures suitable for the timely evaporation of saliva would cause injury to the player.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 13 2015

       The expansion of the instrument (ooer missus!) would affect the tuning - not an insurmountable problem but it would require instruments to be tuned differently and they would only sound 'correct' at 120°C. I assume the user of the tuba, trumpet or whatever would be issued with heatproof gloves?

An alternative approach, along the same lines, would be to have a gas line feed into the instrument. Little peizo sparkers on the valves would ignite the gas and the resulting flames would vaporise spit. The flames belching from the mouth of the tuba, trumpet or whatever would look cool.
hippo, Dec 14 2015

       Ah, but, [hippo], the heating elements are restricted to a couple of spit-pooling low-points in the instrument. With careful design, the overall tuning should not alter significantly, and heat-proof gloves should not be required.   

       As a bonus, an additional attachment on the outside of the instrument, close to the heating elements, would enable waffles to be made.   

       MaxCo. is also evaluating the use of Spit-be-Gone tubas in popcorn-popping mode.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2015

       I still think flames would be nice - I went to an excellent, candlelit production of Handel's Messiah last night which would have been enhanced further by gently flickering gas flames coming from the brass section.
hippo, Dec 14 2015

       I think scientific investigation is needed, to determine the relative percentage of saliva and condensate in the dribblings from the spit valves of different brass instruments. I would expect to find a higher amount of spit in larger instruments, but also a larger amount of condensate. So it is not entirely clear how the percentage would vary by instrument size. I would expect significantly more condensate than saliva.   

       (Of course mouthpiece size is probably more important than instrument size, but they tend to correlate).   

       [Max} your localised heater will vapourise the spit-condensate mixture, which will then condense a few inches further along and dribble back to where it started.
pocmloc, Dec 14 2015

       //mains lead// How about powering the device using a bore-mounted wind turbine?
pocmloc, Dec 14 2015

       //bore-mounted wind turbine// That would be a French horn player.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2015

       Musical spittoon - solo   

       Musical spittoon - group
popbottle, Dec 16 2015


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