© 2005 P. Missin - Details

US Patent 644022

Does this combined zither and harmonica look a little familiar? Perhaps more than a little bit like the Harp-O-Chord? That's not too surprising, as this 1900 patent was granted to William Waterman McCallip, one of Carl Brown's partners in the Harp-O-Chord Company.

This instrument differs from the Harp-O-Chord by having two sets of strings. Quoting from the patent document:

The strings on the right hand side are shown to be sixteen in number, so that they may be tuned to form a diatonic scale of two octaves, while those on the left side are twelve in number, so that they may be tuned to form three common chords - as, for example, chords of the tonic, dominant and subdominant, with their basses or fundamentals.

Another feature of this instrument was a chart and a pointer connected to a sliding mouthpiece on the harmonica, the pointer's position on the chart indicating which notes were being played on a score.

McCallip was granted another patent later that same year, US Patent 659765, for yet another variation on the harmonica/zither hybrid, this one having the harmonica held by an adjustable bracket on the front edge of the instrument.

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