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.

Aug 14, 2011

Humanatone - Part I : the metallic era

In 1904, James Joseph Stivers, associated with George W. Stivers and John H. Dreyer, founded the Humanatone Introducing Novelty Co. in New York, with a $15.000 capital.
On the 1st of July 1904, Stivers files the trade-mark Humanatone (43264, reg. Aug. 30, 1904) designed with an uncial typo.
The brand was renewed on April 18, 1905 (45056, reg. Aug. 1, 1905), under the new denomination ("A nasal wind musical instrument") and with a new design, the name Humanatone floating over a lion rampant, grabbing a tuplet of semiquavers, like playing an harp.
The documents note "This trade-mark has been continuously used in my business since July 6th, 1903".

Under this brand, the Humanatone Company sells a boxed metal nose flute. Two pieces of stamped tin plate are assembled by pewter soldering, plus a pair of rivets on the base of nose cap.
The shape design is very new, comparing to Carter's or Couchois', in the way that the whistle part does not enter the mouth anymore. Moreover, Stivers invents the upper lip rest, a flap bent from the mouth-hole, and designed in order to help placing the flute in a good playing position. The circular base of the instrument is bent on the purpose to offer a lower lip rest.

Curiously, no patent was registered neither for this innovative design, nor for the whitle external to the mouth, nor for the lips rests. However, a first version of the flute was stamped with references to Carter and Couchois (477167 & 31876) plus the mention "Other patents pending". But in a later version, this last stamp has been replaced by Leech-Couchois mention (641025).

The Humanatone was really a cool instrument, easy to play, and it became popular. It has been sold from 1903 until the emergence of a new material in the 40's : plastics. The brand Humanatone was renewed in 1926 (fil. 5/3/1925, reg. 2/9/1926), then was sold by Stivers to the Fred Gretsch Mfg Co., and this will be the topic of a future post : « Humanatone - Part II ».


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


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