© 2005 P. Missin - Details

US Patent 2591023

Granted in 1952 to Hugh M. Stevenson of Fort Wayne, Indiana, this just looks like an ordinary harmonica (actually, the upper picture looks like the All American Series by the Harmonic Reed Co. of Philadelphia). However, rather than the reeds being arranged to form a scale, they are arranged so that they form a simple melody. In the diagram above, playing all the blow notes from left to right, then playing all the draw note from left to right gives the tune "Happy Birthday".

The instrument shown in the diagram below is to be played using the blow notes from left to right, then the draw notes from right to left. The tune that is given is "Anniversary Song":

Stevenson had been awarded US Patent 2511302 a couple of years earlier for a harmonica based around the wholetone scale (which also depicts a harmonica like the All-American).

1952 seems to have been the year for harps with pre-set melodies. Just a few weeks after Stevenson's patent was awarded, Adolph C. Hugin of Washington, DC was granted US Patents 2595381 and 2595382 for a similar idea, although this time the reedplates were designed be to replaceable. Some of the diagrams from Hugin's second patent again show a harmonica very similar to the All-American Series, right down to the unique mounting of the individual reeds:

Presumably, both Stevenson and Hugin were involved in some way with the Harmonic Reed Co.

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