© 2005 P. Missin - Details

German Patent 147521

Issued in 1904, this appears to be Hohner's earliest patent for a harmonica with a key-change button. As with most of these early designs, chromaticity is not mentioned, the patent merely stating that the instrument allows the player to change between a pair of reedplates in different keys. Instead of opening certain reed chambers at the mouthpiece and closing others, this design works by physically blocking the reeds themselves:

In some ways, this is reminiscent of Hank Bahnson's Overblow Harp (see FFAQ25) and presumably had similar problems - if you happened to push the button as you were playing a note, you could very easily snag a reed. As an aside, I notice that the button on this instrument appears to be placed on the end opposite to where it is found on modern chromatic harmonicas.

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