Allen, J(oseph) Lathrop
- Robert E. Eliason
(b Holland, MA, Sept 24, 1815; dc1905). American brass instrument maker. About 1853 he designed a very efficient rotary valve, featuring flattened windways, string linkage, and enclosed stops. This valve was very successful in the USA during the second half of the 19th century. Other makers who adopted the Allen valve included B.F. Richardson, D.C. Hall, and B.F. Quinby, all of whom had at one time worked with Allen; Henry Lehnert, who worked in Boston for a time before moving to Philadelphia; and E. Glier of Cochecton, New York.
Allen began making brass instruments about 1838 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, a short distance from his birthplace. He moved to Boston in 1842 and is known to have worked in Norwich, Connecticut, from 1846 to 1849; in 1852 he returned to Boston. He is known to have made at least one keyed bugle early in his career, and a number of instruments with double-piston Vienna valves. During the late 1850s in Boston his flat-windway valve won respect among leading musicians and his instruments received favourable comment at mechanics exhibitions. From ...