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.

Sep 11, 2017

The New Musical Wonder

The "New Musical Wonder" is the nickname George Washington Stivers gave to the Humanatone. While this commercial name was stamped on the very early instrument, it was also used in the 1920's user manuals, and also declined as "The Wonder of the Musical World" (but strangely not in the earlier ones).

From a 1920's user manual:

So, as you can see, I have been greatly fortunate to find a sample of this wonder – I had been searching one for 7 years – and the cherry on the cake is that it is in a quite good condition. The nickel plating is well conserved, the stamping is neat and crispy, there is no rust spots and the shape itself is well preserved. Not mint, but museum grade.

The stamping mention a "trade mark" but no patents numbers. As far as I know, it is the first model of Humanatone without any mention of the patents. Geo's son James Joseph was in charge of the brand registering. He filed the application July 1, 1904 (trade mark No. 43,264 registered August 30, 1904) but mentioned in the document that "this trade-mark has been continuously used in [his] business since July 6, 1903.

On the other hand, I had been able to date an early Humanatone (check here please) of 1905-1911, with a logical preference for 1908-1911. This New Musical Wonder dates of before (no patent stamping) and should logically be the first model of nose flute stamped Humanatone. It should follow the (American) Magic Flute – probably designed by G. J. Couchois – which was (still) in the catalogues in 1903.

So, this super-early Humanatone should date of 1903 to ca.1908, with very probable time frame of 1903-ca.1905 (no stamping, etc.). Who designed it ? Couchois before selling patents to the Stivers, or the Stivers themselves ?


  1. happy you are back! And happy for that beautiful trouvaille!

    1. Thank you chère Diva! You were also missing to this blog! Glad to see you here!

  2. This reminds me very much of the metal "Magic Noseflute" that I just missed-out on back in the late-'fifties, early 'sixties! I ordered it from Ellisdons novelties catalogue, but when it arrived it was made of plastic! This Humanatone is an amazing find for one of such a great age and yet in such a good condition! Well done! And nice to see you back, too!

    1. Hi Steve! Yes, I remember you told me this Ellisdons story! And yes too, I'm very glad to have finally been able to find a New Musical Wonder version of the "Hum". All the best!