The frequent reader of this blog will have often read this assertion: "The brand Humanatone exists only since 1903". It is true that the name Humanatone has oftenly been and still is used by some as a generic name for nose flutes. As people say "Aspirin" (a brand originally trademarked by Bayer AG) instead of "acetylsalicylic acid", or "Escalator" (trademarked by Otis) instead of "moving staircase", many people ared to saying "Humanatone" for "nose flute", even if the instrument comes from a foreign country.
So, when I read in a 1922 magazine (see this post) that « Art Jacobs, also a musical wonder, performed marvels (of discord) on a "Humanatone", which he purchased at the Chicago World's Fair in 1892. », I thought the journalist was using a brand name for the generic noun.
Indeed, James J. Stivers, founder of the Humanatone Co., wrote in the 1904 Humanatone trademark file: « As shown in the accompanying facsimile, my trade-mark consists of the word "Humanatone". This trade-mark has been continuously used in my business since July 6th, 1903."
More, the Chicago fair was opened to the public in 1893. So, I thought that the redactor, who wrote the paper in 1922, had made several mistakes, notably the one consisting of using the well-known (in 1922) brand for one of the first nose flute commercialized.
Stivers specified « in my business » and this detail might mean the brand was used before, in another business or by another industrialist.
Hypothesis? No. I just find 2 articles using the name Humanatone before 1903.
The first one, from the New York Times is dated Sep. 29, 1902, and announces a demonstration of the famous nose flute, to stand in John Wanamaker annex store, NYC.
Note that, interestingly, the NY Times specifies the Humanatone ambitus, and also mentions its invention « in upwards of 300 years », probably refering to the Guarani bird call.
But even more interesting, is this article from The Manitoba Morning Free Press (Winnipeg edition), dated of the 20th of December, 1894, that is, one year only after the Columbian World Chicago Fair.
So, the brand Humanatone was already existing in 1894. Was it also the name of the 1893 Chicago nose flute? We may think so.
However, I do not know how to understand the last sentence of the paragraph: « Its future appearance will be welcomed ». What does that it mean exactly?
About metal Humanatones, check :
- Humanatone - part I : the metallic era
- New Humanatone ads
- The Two metal Humanatones
- Another metal Humanatone
- Humanatone boxes
- Another Humanatone box
- Humanatone: A very early user manual
- The Magic (Nose) Flute: only questions... .
- A Humanatone and clones chronology
- A Humanatone in 1892 ?
- Humanatone: Early promotional demos
- Another Humanatone archive
- Huma... something
- Rectification: Humanatone appearance date
- Great paper from 1903
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part IV
- Nose Flute Pioneers: The Stivers - Part V
- A Humanatone as a scientific tool
- Two other Humanatone Ads
And on later Humanatones :
- Humanatone - Part II : the Gretsch plastic era
- Humanatone - Part III : the Gretsch metal era