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 9, 2012

Video by Roy Bitton

Rare enough to be noticed: a video by Roy Bitton (רועי ביטון), the bamboo nose flute maker from Tupa Art, in Israel, in which he plays the guitar and one of his painted flutes. We previously presented Roy's work in this post. Hello Roy!!

Tupa art website is here
and here is its Google Translate version in English.

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


Nov 7, 2012

Marius Amiel: a french patent from 1908

December 19, 1908, Marius François Jean-Marie Amiel filed a patent for a « Sifflet autophone imitant le son de la flûte » ("Autophon whistle imitating the flute sound"). The document was registered March 15, 1909, and published May 27, 1909 [FR398,148].

What a surprise and a disappointment to realise that the Amiel's patent is a simple and pure copy of 1899 Couchois' one! The nose flute has the same shape and this cannot be coincidental. What is "funny" however, is that Amiel corrected some Couchois' drawing mistakes (the labium exagerated height for instance).

First; Amiel's design, and then, Couchois'one:

This french patent is interesting though... Indeed, it means that Couchois' flute was undoubtedly produced, and with the shape of the patent. It had not been the "Chicago flute", since it was much later, but probably the "missing link" between the Chicago nose flute (1893) and the Stivers' Humanatone/Magic Nose Fute (1903).
Was it distributed in Europe? Probably not. It is more likely that Amiel met the nose flute during a travel to New York City.

Thanks to Christian Steinbrecher for helping finding this piece of nose flute history!

Nov 6, 2012

Ayano with her Bocarina

Appearing at the "Sunny Country Social Media Summit" 2012 (晴れの国おかやまソーシャルメディアサミット) in Okayama prefecture, Miss Ayano played some nose flute.

Humanatone/Magic Nose Flute: Ultimate evidence

Was the metal Humanatone and the Magic Nose Flute the same? YES. I found the ultimate evidence in the Johnson Smith catalogs. Why didn't I notice this before?

In the following edition (1928), nose flutes appear 2 times: on page 40 and on page 273. The first one is a Magic Nose Flute and the second is a Humanatone. But... but the reference numbers are the same! So, it's the same item!

And ten years later, in 1938, it is till the same. Pages 32 and 568:

The identity of the Humanatone and the Magic Nose Flute is proven. But remains the question of the Magic Flute.

The trade-mark Magic Flute was registered in Australia and New Zealand. The flute is the exact double of the early (rounded cap) Humanatone, in any very detail... Was it a local brand for the Humanatone? It could have been...

On the Johnson Smith Co. website, one can read: « The Johnson Smith Company™ is one of America’s oldest catalogs companies. In 1905, our founder, Alfred Johnson Smith, started selling his novelties and practical jokes in Australia. The company was officially founded in the U.S.A. in 1914, when Mr. Smith shipped his first package from Chicago. »

So, the Johnson Smith Co. began its activities in Australia in 1905. Is there a link to find here?

Nov 4, 2012

New designs by Akio Takamura

Mr. Akio Takamura is a very modest nose flute maker, whose work was previously shown in this post. This imaginative and talented craftsman of the Saitama province produces clay nose flutes and paints them.