[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 () () `----'

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.