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date: 18 January 2020

Miller, Dayton C(larence) locked

  • revised by James F. Bell
  •  and Murray Campbell
  • R.W.B. Stephens


( b Strongsville, OH, March 13, 1866; d Cleveland, Feb 22, 1941). American acoustician . He studied at Princeton (DSc 1890) and held appointments there before becoming head of the physics department at the Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland. He was an accomplished flautist, and wrote extensively about the instrument, provided a catalogue of literature on the flute, and gathered an important collection of flutes (now in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC). His most important contribution as an acoustician was the development in 1909 of the ‘phonodeik’, which incorporated a diaphragm of thin glass closing the end of a receiving horn; this allowed him to analyse waveforms of various instruments – by means of a thin wire attached to the centre of the diaphragm, which passed over a spindle pulley, the rotation of the spindle (due to movement of the diaphragm) was recorded by light reflected from a mirror affixed to the spindle. He also carried out experiments on organ pipes and trumpets having walls of different thicknesses, although his conclusions about the desirable qualities for the containing walls of an instrument have been challenged by more recent studies. He became an expert on engineering acoustics and was responsible for the design of many concert halls. His 32-element harmonic synthesizer won him a medal from the Franklin Institute....

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