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 16, 2011

Charles M. Berry : The Vocamonica

March 19, 1938 is the date of filing of a instrument by Charles M. Berry of Inglewood, California. Registered on April 23, 1940 under the number US2197993, the « Vocamonica » is a metal nose flute featuring several inventions and/or new intentions.
Indeed, if the shape is comparable to the metal Humanatone, but provides a sliding piece of metal as a labium, with the purpose, not to change the kind of sound like in the Cobia patent, but the tone itself :

« A toner gate 11 being a thin flat piece of oblong shape that may be made of wood or metal is ajustably mounted in the opening 9 by first blowing through the opening 9 and taking the fingers and moving it inward or outward to decrease or increase the opening until the required tone is reached, then it remains in this position without constantly fingering and is held in place by the members 12 and 13 that are fixed by screws 14 to the face plate 10.»

More, the invention had some hygienic intentions. The British Humanaphone existed in a celluloid « hygienic line », but the Vocamonica is the first nose flute which can be disassembled, in order to be washed.

« The lower section 2 being slidably mounted in the upper section 1 permits these sections to be easily separated so that they can be easily cleaned thus having a clean and sanitary instrument at all times ».

More ! Mr. Berry had some medical velleities that we hope to have been pure fantasy :
to scramble the brains !

« A further object of the invention is to provide a device of such character which may be easily operated and which will be simple in construction, simple and positive in operation and which will furthermore vibrate the brain of a person to exercise it. »

The Berry's patent was quoted as reference in 3 later ones, in 1946 (reg. 1949) by Virgil R. Kimple (US2463630), in 1987 (reg. 1988) by Patrick Huet de Froberville (FR2616574) and in 1993 (reg. 1996) by Michel A. Paulus (USD368485).

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