Scheibler, Johann Heinrich
- Kevin Mooney
(b Montjoie [now Monschau], Nov 11, 1777; d Krefeld, Nov 20, 1837). German acoustician. He was a silk manufacturer in Krefeld, and had a lifelong interest in acoustics. He is best known for his proposal to the Stuttgart Congress of Physicists in 1834 that the pitch a′ have a standard frequency of 440 Hz (this being the mean of contemporary Viennese pianos); a′ 440 has consequently been called ‘the Stuttgart pitch’. Scheibler also developed a ‘tonometer’ consisting of 52 tuning-forks, each tuned to beat about four times a second with its higher and lower neighbours (beat frequencies were first treated systematically by Sauveur in 1701); this apparatus, now lost, is described in his Der physikalische und musikalische Tonmesser (Essen, 1834). A 56-fork tonometer spanning the octave a=220 to a′=440 did survive and was described by Ellis (Helmholtz/Ellis, 1885).
Using the tonometer, Scheibler was able to manufacture tuning-forks for all 13 pitches in the equal tempered octave ...