The Octavin was reportedly introduced in France by Cavaillé-Coll as a 2' Flûte Harmonique, and used extensively by that builder, sometimes under the name Octavin Harmonique. Later usage varies, particularly in the 20th century when the meanings of many stop names were diluted or altered. Thus, Audsley and Wedgwood claim it to be equivalent to the Superoctave, though the proper French name for that stop is Doublette. Grove calls it an open flute, and dates it from around 1860 by Cavaillé-Coll, though there are documented examples by that builder as early as 1846. Of the hundreds of examples in Osiris, ten are listed as being of harmonic construction, and at least two are borrowed from Principal ranks. According to Audsley, Cavaillé-Coll also made a stop named Flute Octavin Harmonique, though this may have been a mistake on Audsley's part. Grove, the only source to mention Ottavina, lists it as a synonym for Octavin, and dates it from around 1790 by Venetian builders.
Osiris lists nearly 200 organs that contain at least one Octavin; four are at 1' pitch, two are at 4', and the rest are at 2'. Only one example of Ottavina is known.