[Harp-L] re: Who on earth is Anton the Plumber?
Dave Payne writes:
"I've heard folks say he invented the Richter, but it was probably
his brother Joseph. But Anton Richter of Haida had his own company in
Bohemia back in the 1800s"
It's hard to say exactly what Richter invented, who he was or the
like. This page presents the issues pretty well:
I draw your attention particularly to these two sentences (copywrite
by Pat Missin, from his website http://www.patmissin.com ):
"However, they note that harmonicas were also made in the late 1800s
by Anton Richter and Johann Richter. Relationships, if any, between
these three harmonica makers are unknown."
Moreover, contemporary histories from the late 19th and particularly
early 20th centuries are not exactly impartial. The study of history
was often used as a political tool for much of the last hundred and
fifty years, particularly swayed by two major trends: nationalism and
progressivism. Thus, people and facts which don't fit the desired
narrative were often simply discarded. So, while we see an
outpouring of similar free-reed invention across Europe and even the
US in the early 19th century, much of this is ignored in favor of the
trends which led to the status quo when people were writing,
particularly the status quo of German's writing in the early 20th
century when Germans dominated the market and nationalism was the
dominant political force. Added to this is the desire to find an
"inventor", and when one didn't exist perhaps create one in a semi-
mythical fashion (perhaps Richter fits this mold), which certainly
wasn't confined to any one country nor to harmonica history by any
means (see the Abner Doubleday mythology in baseball).
I would also suggest reading this page as well for more information:
These basic issues should be common knowledge for anyone wanting to
understand or research the history of the harmonica, IMO.
()() JR "Bulldogge" Ross
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