Anyone who has played a wooden combed harmonica for any length of time will have noticed that the wood has a tendency to absorb water and swell, then it shrinks as it dries out. In 1911, the Hohner company was awarded a patent that attempted to rectify this problem a little, as well as provide a more comfortable playing surface, by making each chamber partition a little short and wrapping a strip of metal in and out of each chamber. An additional method was also shown where an individual strip of metal was used for each partition:
German Patent 382123, granted to Hohner in 1923, showed an improved version of the first idea, with pins to hold the strip in pace at the end of each chamber (h in the diagram below):
Hohner also received an American patent for the first idea in 1911, US Patent 1009903. US Patent 1009904 was granted on the same day for a metal lined comb for a double reed harmonica. These combs were used on the Hohner Ironclad, Hohner Song Band Vamper and Orchester I models. I have also seen a Gretsch harmonica (made by Hering back in the 1960s) that used a very similar idea, which they termed their "New Protectongue Improvement".
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