Trade name for a small mechanical reed organ, operated by means of a crank-fed perforated strip. It was patented by Henry B. Horton in 1877 (no.196,529) and improved in 1882 by Henry B. Morris and Lucien A. Brott (no.252,844). It was manufactured in various models and great numbers by the Autophone Co. (later the Mechanical Orguinette Co.) of Ithaca, New York, which also made related instruments under the names of Musette, Celestina, and Musical Casket....
revised by Laurence Libin
German brass instrument manufacturer in Graslitz (Kraslice), Czech Republic. Births and deaths (below) occurred in Graslitz unless otherwise indicated. The company was founded on 28 July 1870 by Gustav Bohland (b 13 Feb 1825; d 19 March 1886), who was an independent brass instrument maker from 1850, and the merchant Martin Fuchs (b Hirschenstand, 17 March 1830; d 13 March 1893). In 1886 Martin Fuchs became sole owner of the company, followed by his sons Johann (b 26 Nov 1852; d Meran, 29 April 1905) and Hermann (b 8 Sept 1856; d 1921), and later by his grandchildren Karl (b 25 Feb 1884; d Waiblingen, 29 May 1964) and Adolf (b 7 July 1889; d Waiblingen, 12 April 1969). In 1945 the factory was expropriated and in 1948 became part of the Czechoslovak state enterprise ‘Amati’. Attempts to rebuild the company in West Germany (Neustadt/Aisch) failed in ...
American makers of historic oboes. The craftsman Jonathan Bosworth (b Ithaca, NY, 18 June 1938) and oboist Stephen Hammer (b Rochester, NY, 14 April 1951) worked in partnership copying historical double-reed instruments from 1975 to 2002. Their first copy was of an oboe by Thomas Stanesby Sr, then in the possession of Dr Robert M. Rosenbaum. This was followed by copies of oboes by various 18th-century makers, including Thomas Stanesby Jr, J. Denner, Charles Bizey, William Milhouse, C.A., Heinrich Grenser, and J.F. Floth; oboes d’amore by Denner and J.H. Eichentopf; an oboe da caccia by Eichentopf; a tenor oboe by J.C. Denner; and shawms after anonymous specimens (in B.B.mim and CZ.P.nm). Working out of Acton, Massachusetts, they also began designing their own hybrid ‘Saxon’ model patterned after several original oboes from Dresden and Leipzig makers. Production of this model was subsequently transferred to Joel Robinson of New York. By the time their partnership ceased, Bosworth & Hammer had made more than 300 instruments....
Wind instrument makers of Strasbourg. [Life data refer to Strasbourg unless noted.] Jean (Johannes) II Keller (1710–78) was admitted as a turner in the corporation of carpenters in 1736. His three sons were woodwind makers. Jean III Keller (b 14 Dec 1737; d 1785), his first son, was described as ‘Instrumentenmacher’ at his marriage in 1765 and upon the births of his four children. He used the mark ‘[fleur de lis] / KELLER / A STRASBOURG’. Isaac Keller (b 26 Jan 1740; d 11 June 1802), the second son, was received into the corporation of carpenters in 1785, at the death of his brother Jean III. He joined the third son, Jean Philippe Keller (b 10 Nov 1743; d 1 July 1794) by 1790 to create a new partnership, marking their instruments ‘[angel trumpeter] / LES / FRERES/ KELLER’. Etienne Ozi (...
Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...
revised by Robert Bigio
(b Dublin, Ireland, 1809; d London, England, May 7, 1864). Irish flutist, composer, flute designer, and manufacturer. He became professor of flute at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1840s, and was an enthusiastic player of Boehm’s 1832 conical flute as made by Rudall & Rose from 1843. He published the first English-language tutor for the instrument, followed by further editions. However, Clinton appears to have fallen out with Boehm after failing to persuade him to allow Clinton to produce Boehm’s newly invented (1847) cylindrical flute in London (Boehm sold the rights to Rudall & Rose instead). Clinton then denounced Boehm’s work, declaring his opposition to Boehm’s open-standing (fully vented) key system (the virtues of which he had previously extolled) as well as to Boehm’s cylindrical bore and his use of metal for the body.
In 1848 Clinton registered the first of his four patents for flutes, to which he gave the name Equisonant. These use a fingering system similar to that of the eight-keyed flute, on a conical bore but with a mechanism that allows the tone holes to be better placed. After ...
Anne Beetem Acker
Brand name for a 41-note electronic piano accordion and for electronic organs and pianos and amplifiers. These were manufactured by CRB Elettronica of Ancona, Italy, from about 1960 into the 1970s and distributed by Chicago Musical Instrument Co. (CMI). While there are similarities with electronic instruments made by Farfisa (also distributed by CMI), the Cordovox schematic diagrams are clearly marked with CRB’s logo. Most models of Cordovox organ have one manual, but the CDX has two. An unusual feature of this model is the ‘Arpeggio/Glissando’ switch which when set to ‘Arpeggio’ allows the player to hold a chord on the lower manual, and the chord will arpeggiate using the sustain voices. Similarly, the ‘Glissando’ setting will cause a chromatic sustained glissando. The two-manual CDX-0652 ‘White Elephant’ is a Cordovox organ with a built-in Moog Satellite monosynth, designed by Thomas Organ, which bought the rights to the Moog Satellite. The synthesizer voices play only from the upper manual, the organ on both. The CDX-P425 and CRD-P423 are 60-key electronic pianos....
revised by Brandon Smith
Italian company of instrument makers. It was founded about 1870 in Ancona to manufacture free-reed instruments, including piano accordions and reed organs. The modern Farfisa company (from FAbbriche Riunite di FISArmoniche, ‘United Accordion Factories’) of Castelfidardo/Camerano was founded in 1946 by Silvio Scandalli, Settimio Soprani (brother of Paolo Soprani), and the Frontalini Accordion Co. of Chicago. Farfisa revolutionized the mass production of accordions by replacing assembly lines with specialized departments producing components that were then assembled into completed instruments. In 1951 Farfisa developed the ‘Super 6’ accordion, considered by many to be the best in the world. Later, Farfisa began producing electronic keyboard instruments ranging in style from piano accordions to synthesizers. From about 1960 its range of electronic piano accordions included the 41-note Cordovox and Transicord (from ‘transistor’ and ‘accordion’), and in 1970 it manufactured an early electronic percussion unit; one Transicord model included an electronic rhythm section.
The company’s success led to a take-over in ...
Hugh Davies and Christoph Wagner
German manufacturer of harmonicas, accordions, keyboard instruments and guitars. It was founded in 1857 in Trossingen by the clockmaker Matthias Hohner (b 1833; d Trossingen, 1903), who was not so much an innovator as a perfector of other people’s inventions, which he then marketed successfully. He learnt how to make his first harmonica after visiting a friend’s workshop. For almost half a century he focussed on this single product, which was exported to more than 100 countries around the world. The biggest market was the USA, which in 1890 absorbed more than 90% of the firm’s production. Hohner was the unrivalled market leader and the company name became almost synonymous with the harmonica (see Harmonica). After Matthias’s death his five sons took over the business. They began also to make accordions, and contributed greatly to their technical and musical advancement. The Hohner ‘Gola’ piano accordion, which is still produced, is seen by many as the ‘Stradivari’ of accordions. By the 1920s the company had become the world’s largest producer of musical instruments, employing a workforce of nearly 5000. In ...
[Kong Hsue Sheh]
Manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments, headquartered in Taiwan. The company, part of a conglomerate that also includes K. H. S. Investing Co., Ltd, K. H. S. Trading Co., K. H. S. Audio Co., Ltd, Aeolus Music Corp., and Musix Co., Ltd, was founded in 1930 by Chien-Chung Hsieh and his brothers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The company, originally named Wan-Wu (‘everything available’), was renamed Kong Hsue Sheh (‘contribute to schools and society’) after World War II; it was registered in Taipei in 1950. K. H. S. has operations in Taiwan, Japan, China, the Netherlands, and the USA (Mt Juliet, Tennessee), and a worldwide distribution network for products ranging from motorcycles to wind and string instruments and drums, mostly of student grade. In 2010 the parent company of K. H. S. had about 4200 employees and declared corporate revenue of about US$590 million, some US$295 million from instrument production and sales. Among its brands is M. Hohner, of which K. H. S. bought a majority share in ...
Sabine K. Klaus
Firm of brass instrument makers in Cincinnati, Ohio. Franz Gotthold Kaiser (b Schöneck, Germany, 30 Aug 1825; d Cincinnati, 25 May 1890) trained with Carl Heinrich Beuthner, the brother-in-law of Carl August Zoebisch, in Neukirchen (today Markneukirchen); he emigrated to the USA in 1852 or 1853 and is first listed as musical instrument maker in Cincinnati in 1855. William Kohler (b Saxony, c1823, d Cincinnati, 13 Jan 1894) is first listed there in 1858. The partnership apparently began in 1859 and the company name Kaiser & Kohler appears from 1860 to 1890.
Kaiser initially made brass instruments in the European style. By 1860 Kaiser & Kohler had adopted rotary valves with string linkage, employing a special system with arched push rod that is otherwise not recorded. During the American Civil War the firm switched to producing standard string-rotary-valve instruments in over-the-shoulder, bell front, and turning bell configurations. It is likely that Kaiser & Kohler mainly supplied unmarked instruments to the trade, notably to the Wurlitzer firm. Rudolph Wurlitzer (...
revised by Margaret Downie Banks
Firm of instrument makers. It was founded as the H.N. White Company (Cleveland) in 1893 by Henderson Nelson White (1873–1940), an instrument repairman, amateur musician, and businessman. White created the company’s first instrument, a trombone, in consultation with trombonist Thomas H. King (1868–1926), after whom the King line was named. The company was renamed King Musical Instruments in 1966.
Foster A. Reynolds (1884–1960) managed White’s factory and a full line of band instruments from 1903 to 1935. A department of acoustical research was established in 1909 in a new factory at 5225 Superior Avenue. Saxophone manufacture began in 1916, followed by the invention of the King saxello (1924; a straight soprano sax with a curved neck and half-turned bell) and the pioneering introduction of sterling silver bells on cornets, trumpets, and trombones. White purchased the Cleveland Musical Instrument Company (1925), added stringed instruments to his line (...
Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter
Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....
revised by Andrew C. McGraw
Ensemble of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is an acculturated band whose music was heard formerly at festive occasions and processions in the streets of Jakarta, but by the 1970s only in the outskirts to the south and in the adjacent regions of Krawang (where it is also called orkes kompeni), Bekasi, and Tangerang. Similar ensembles have appeared in Palembang (South Sumatra) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan). The instruments of the tanjidor band are the Western clarinet, trumpet, cornet, euphonium (or tuba), trombone, bass and side drum (both called tambur), a small hand cymbal (kecrek) and large crash cymbal, both struck with metal beaters, and sometimes a small gong (kenong). The drums are typically struck with sticks, or by the hands when imitating Sundanese kendang. A helicon, tenor horns, saxophones, and violin may be added. The horns sometimes include locally constructed mouthpiece extensions that lower the fundamental pitches of the instruments. A singer may join when performing adapted ...
Brazilian ensemble notable for its use of novel acoustic instruments. The quintet, founded in 1978–9 by the composer, cellist, and instrument maker Marco Antônio Guimarães (b 10 Oct 1948), was named for a mythical being of the Tukano people, whose perforated body sounded as wind blew over it, and from whose grave grew palm trees from which flutes were made. Among Uakti’s many unconventional instruments, mostly made by Guimarães, are so-called Pans, graduated lengths of PVC tubing recalling the tubes of a panpipe but struck by hand or with mallets; marimbas with bars of construction lumber or glass, both types mounted above movable soundboxes; bowed string instruments including the Iarra, a kind of cello with two sets of strings that can be fingered simultaneously, the Chori Smetano, said by its creator, Guimaraes’s teacher Walter Smetak, to be able to evoke opposite feelings simultaneously, and the Torre, a PVC tube with strings stretched along it—the tube is turned on its axis by a handle while another person bows it, creating chords that vary with the speed of the turning and the number of strings bowed; and drums such as the Trilobyte, comprising 10 PVC tubes in a frame, with drum heads over the top openings, played melodically by two drummers. Uakti also employs conventional and traditional instruments of several cultures. The group’s success, for example in collaboration with Philip Glass, has led to imitation by other musicians seeking new sounds from familiar materials....
Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies
American firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.
Cynthia Adams Hoover
(Franz) Rudolph Wurlitzer (b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, 14 Jan 1914) came to the USA in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...
Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies
Firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.
Rudolph Wurlitzer (Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer; b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, OH, 14 Jan 1914) came to the United States in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...