Valves can be divided into two large groups: multi-turn valves and quarter turn valves.
With multi-turn valves, the handwheel has to be turned fully several times and the valve or plate is moved linearly to set the valve in the opened or closed position. Among others, globe valves and knife gate valves belong to this group.
Instead of an up and down movement, as is the case with multi-turn valves, the movement of quarter turn valves is rotary, hence the English name rotary valve. The lever is a good indicator of the position of a quarter turn valve. The actuation is usually 90°, hence the name. At present, an estimated 40% of the valves used are quarter turn valves such as ball valves and butterfly valves.
Historically, it is impossible to tell by whom exactly a valve was conceived, both Egyptians and Greeks had developed methods to divert and control the water flows. The Romans are also known for their advanced sanitary facilities, such as their famous thermal baths and other water systems. By the way, the English name valves is derived from the Latin name valvae which means swing doors.
However, it was not until the invention of steam engines and the subsequent industrial revolution that the design of a valve was further explored and significant improvements were made. As more and more steam applications were developed, a branch of industry developed specifically for the development of valves.