This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Nov 8, 2012

Nose Flute Pioneers: Aurion Villa Chevers

With the "Nose Flute Pioneers" series, enters a little cycle of research. I hope it won't be too arid for a blog, but I really think that the facts I found have to be published. The sources : Google patents, US Census and an access to newspaper archives. But also, depending on the topic, correspondence by e-mail with descendants. Let's better say : internet searching tools available for a Frenchie not able to access US real paper archives.


Nose Flute Pioneers: Aurion Villa Chevers

Aurion V. Chevers was not an industrialist, nor a merchant, nor even a tinsmith, but a clerk, the Deputy City Clerk of Providence, RI.

Aurion was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1856, and is « the youngest son of the late George W. Chevers, who was formely rector of St Paul Church ». Aurion had one brother, T.R. Lambert and a sister, Clara G.

So, in 1880, at the age of 24, Chevers is Deputy City Clerk. He lives alone in Vernon Street, and probably already practices wind musical instrument research as a hobby.

On 1st of February, 1882, Aurion marries Miss Hattie Childs Fish, 6 years younger. They have their first son, Louis C., Jan. 25, 1883, then another one, Aurion V., Aug. 6, 1884.

In 1887, Chevers files his first patent (fil. Apr. 22, reg. Nov.8, with the number US373,012). It is a complex "pandean organ", i.e., an organ blowing pan flutes. The "pipes" are intended to be preferably built in glass.

Then, May 10, 1888, he files another patent for the specific design of the pipes used on his pandean organ.

Just after filing the patent, on 27th of July 1888, hattie has another son: Stillman White Marshall.

The patent [US445,849] is registered only February 3, 1891 and this year is the beginning of a very sad series for Aurion and Hattie. Indeed, their son Aurion V. passes away on 9th of January, at the age of 6.
On 5 of January 1893, Hattie gives birth to twin boys. They will die even before having received a surname.
And Oct. 13, 1894, it's the turn of Louis C., aged of 11.

So, in 1900, the Chevers are only 3 at home:

In 1909, Aurion Villa files another patent, for a theatrical accessory: a Musical pipe (US 951,801, fil. Mar. 29, 1909, reg. Mar. 15, 1910). In one of its declinations, the pipe-flute is blown by the nose, thanks to a dedicated flanged cap:

Aurion Chevers, with his ideas and innovations upon wind instruments, should have been boring at work, as clerk in the city hall. In 1910, he is not a clerk anymore, but is officially an "entertainer"!

I don't know what exactly is his job, but it is during this period that Chevers invents his nose flute. On Feb. 24, 1916, Aurion files a patent for a "Musical instrument or vocal flute" (pat. US1,228,532, reg. Jun. 5, 1917).

If one looks well at the instrument, he will notice that it is not exactly a nose flute as we know them. Indeed, there is no labium, but just a "funnel" which accelerates the air blown. In fact, this "vocal flute" is not a "nose whistle", but more what we could call a "nose pan flute" which variable pipe is... the mouth.

When exactly did Aurion V. stop his "entertainer" career? I don't know, but in 1918, he has become "city passenger agent" for the Colonial Line (in 1920, he works for the Steamship Co.)

However, it is in the March 1918 issue of Popular Science, that Aurion Villa Chevers gets the honour of a small article, with his portrait playing the "vocal flute":

In 1921, Aurion V. is 65 years old, and suddenly dies on 5th of March.

The only surviving Chevers' child, Stillman White Marshall, a printer, had married Julia Barry, but they had no children. Julia died in 1975, and Stillman on 8th of July, 1983, aged of 94 (almost 95).

Aurion V. Chevers was buried where he married, and where his father was rector: at the St Paul Church, Providence, RI.

Aurion V. Chevers should be honoured by a Nose Flute Hall of Fame membership!


On the same topic :

- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Nelson Ronsheim
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Garrett J. Couchois
- 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
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Aurion Villa Chevers



  1. It appears that Mr Chevers truly came to the concept of the nose flute independently. What strikes me though is that he probably hadn't heard of any type of nose flute at a time when the instrument was at its peak. His designs are authentic, really different and couldn't be more compact. I do wonder about the playability, however.

  2. Yes Maikel, you're totally right: Chevers came from the pan flute to the nose flute. And even so, his nose flute is not really one (no labium). So, it is clear that he was not aware of the nose whistles.