[Harp-L] The development of the Chromatic Harmonica
I'm not saying the Germans haven't led the world with harmonica development. What I am saying is, I believe the modern chromatic harmonica to be American design.
I had heard long ago that the modern chromatic harmonica was invented by Hohner USA and was actually an American invention. I called Hohner USA years ago and they said if they had, they'd sure be bragging if they had. After I found the patent, I called Hohner USA with the patent number, got the impression they could care not have possibly cared less. If anybody actually does care, looks like Hohner USA did actually get the 260 design first. I found the patent for what we'd call the Hohner 260, 10-hole chrom. This is a Hohner 260, only real difference is the spring is external spring, modern slide, check out the drawings.
The 260 was invented by David Newmann of Napa Valley California. He took his design to Hohner in New York and they bought it.
I don't know about early German patents, but here's some early chroms from the U.S.
In the first one the slide mechanisms are more complex than ours today, but this is a true chrom, you switch back and forth between reeds using a mechanism for changing keys and possible chromatic scales. This patent is from 1897 by Jacob Smith of Circleville, Ohio.
This one, also 1897, by Mr. Hugh Paris of Rat Portage, Canada ismore simple like a chromatic of today. The slide button doubles as the spring, near as I can tell.
Also 1897, Mr. Walter B. Fairfield of Mass. has an interesting slide on what otherwise looks like a modern chrom. There are two buttons on the top you push that makes the whole side go horizontally.
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