© 2005 P. Missin - Details

US Patent 904914

Issued in 1908 to Axel William Anderson of Alaska, this patent is for a circular harmonica, but not just any old circular harmonica. I shall let the patentee explain in his own words:

My invention relates to teething rings for children and has for its object to provide a harmonica in the form of a teething ring so that when it is used a sound or music will distract the attention of the child, and quiet it when it bites on the ring and in that way cuts its gums with its newly formed teeth. ... The teething ring described has a fancy appearance and it answers all the purposes which the teething rings now on the market serve, but in addition it is attractive to children and when once used it has a fascination which serves many purposes. A child may use it in cutting teeth and as stated above the music or sound which is made distracts the child's attention and amuses it, and when the child becomes older it does not discard the ring for it then serves as a musical instrument and by using it the child strengthens its lungs and it may also by the use of it and in connection with the music it may hear, cultivate its ear for music.

Perhaps a whole generation of Alaskan children grew up cutting their teeth to the soothing sounds of harmonica music, I don't know.

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