Double-necked Dulcimer Patent from 1880 – U. S. Patent 223,318

Click the image above to view the full patent PDF.
Click the image above to view the full patent PDF.

Here’s a cool old patent from 135 years ago, showing a double-necked dulcimer with a rectangular body. These “double” dulcimers were meant to be played by two people at once, usually seated on either side of a table.

Continue reading “Double-necked Dulcimer Patent from 1880 – U. S. Patent 223,318”

Gibson’s Guitar Truss Rod Patent from 1923 – US Patent #1446758

In this series of posts, we feature various U. S. patents from the last 150 years, which were either historically significant in the development of modern musical instruments and instrument-building methods, or which present something interesting or just plain cool. We hope that these historical curiosities will help give cigar box guitar builders some context for their work, and hopefully also provide some inspiration. Continue reading “Gibson’s Guitar Truss Rod Patent from 1923 – US Patent #1446758”

Unique Hillbilly Pitchfork Instrument Patent with Cigar Box Slide/Resonator – circa. 1934

Pitchfork Instrument Patent Screenshot
Click the image above to view the full PDF of the patent.

Here’s something a bit different – a patent that was granted by the U. S. Patent Office in 1936, to one Grant C. Haium of Wisconsin, for a musical instrument formed (according to the drawing) from a pitchfork, tightened string, resonator drum and an interesting slide/resonator box. He even even states that he prefers to use a cigar box as his unique slide/resonator (see quote below)

Here is how the patentee described his creation:

“Being an innovation, and in fact somewhat of a rustic revelation, the structure will be found notable as a unique contribution to the art and trade in that it may be justly accredited as possessing the attributes of an irregular yet practicable stringed musical instrument which though of a limited tone compass is nevertheless usable, in teh hands of an artist, to promote achievement not of a renowned type, but rather of a captivating and humorous character calculated to appeal to a listener moved by the efforts of a humble performer.”

Later, he writes: “The slide [the box with the hole in it shown in the drawing] has an additional function, however, and is in the nature of a sound wave amplifying unit. Under the circumstances, I have found it expedient and practical to use an ordinary cigar box and to fasten the lid closed and to form an opening or outlet in the top thereof. This enables the box to serve somewhat in the capacity of the “body” on a violin or equivalent instrument.”