© 2005 P. Missin - Details

German Patent 96803

Titled simply "mundharmonika", this patent was issued in 1898 to Jacob George Smith. Mr Smith lived in Circleville Ohio, a relatively short distance from where I currently reside. The previous year he had been granted US Patent 581313 for this invention.

To put it simply, this is an incredibly complicated chromatic harmonica. It appears to have no less than six pairs of reedplates (presumably one for each key), each with both blow and draw reeds, adding up to a grand total of 384 reeds (the same number of reeds as a 48 chord harmonica, or half a dozen 16-hole chromatics). A complicated series of buttons and levers selects which of these reeds sound at any given time.

At a time when the most complicated harmonicas on the market were tremolo harps with bells attached, it is perhaps easy to see why a manufacturer might be reluctant to try so produce an instrument as complex as this one.

Return to Harmonica PatentsReturn to Main Index