Harp History

Benjamin Franklin and Glass Music,

The Harmonica is older then some think Inspired by musical wine glasses he heard played in Europe, Franklin invented a mechanical glass harmonica in 1761.

From the time of Pythagoras music has been played in varying ways with glass bowls filled with increasing quantities of water. Franklin was inspired for his 1761 invention of the Armonica when he heard music being played by an eccentric Irishman Richard Puckeridge on a set of upright goblets filled with varying amounts of water. Franklin thought he could eliminate the difficult problems of the water tuning by actually giving the bowls themselves a fixed tonality based on their size and the thickness of the glass. He replaced the upright goblets with glass bowls of graduated size, nestled inside each other, mounted on a spindle which was turned by a treadle.

Harmonica comes from China next.

The harmonica, first used in Europe and America, passed from Germany, through Japan, to China sixty years ago. In fact, there had been an instrument - the Sheng - which could be regarded as the ancestor of the harmonica in ancient China. The Sheng reached Europe in the 18th Century. It introduced the principle of using free reed and to certain extent helped the invention of the harmonica.

Last of all most importent Hohner comes along!

The foundland of the harmonica was Scotland. There were several factories producing the harmonica in 1831. However, the harmonica made at that time was rather simple. In 1857, it was improved by a German manufacturer, Mr. Hohner, to the model we still use today.

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