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.

Feb 11, 2013

Froby user manual

Our friend Piet Visser found the original packaging of his Froby. He already shared with us a picture while the flute was unwrapped, but with these new scans, we can enjoy the text and drawings of the user manual, and learn abit more about the instrument. Thank you Piet!

Here is the translation:

Blowing, it's playing

The mouth is only used as a sounding cage and modulates the melody while opening more or less the lips. Place carefully opening A of the «Froby»® while pressing it under the nostrils in order to exploit a maximum of air. Place the base of the «Froby»® so the opening B gets at the same level than the mouth. The lower lip must be applied under this opening B.

Well, there is not much to be surprised with the user manual text. It is rather badly written (even a spelling mistake in "résonnance" which should get only one "n"), and does not explain the player must not blow air from the mouth. It is not said that air is blown through the nose! OK, the large drawing shows the air flows, but I doubt that a customer not aware of nose fluting was able to get quickly the right trick...

But two things got my attention. First, the symbol ® follows the brand name and thus, the name Froby should be registered in some database...

Then, at the lower left corner, one can read « Production TWE Paris ». This means that, despite a spanish patent, Froby was a French product!

I have not been able yet to find more about TWE.

There is also a codabar, and I have a little scanner on my mobile phone. But, for sure, there is noboby answering... but I sent a e-mail to the organism that manages codabars in order to ask for archives...


  1. I was afraid that Piet Visser had thrown the packaging away, but I am very happy that he kept it. The packaging gives so much information: made in Paris, the company that made it, another manual for the collection and a really nice cross-section.

    Furthermore, it clearly shows that the nose flute is an instrument for producing melodical musical notes. The caption "melodique" underlines this. Also,it gives even more proof that the instrument is a flute, as playing requires "souffler", not "siffler". Great to see!

  2. It makes sense now that the packaging states "As seen on TV" in the top right corner on the front: first on Jacques Martin's show in 1987 and then sold in shops in 1988. I wonder though: where did "Moulinot" get the idea, to stage a group of children on TV with this instrument? (I am not even mentioning his sombrero...) It seems to me that he and Froby's creator had struck some sort of promotional deal.

    It also makes sense now that Piet Visser bought his Froby (in Antwerp, Belgium) in 1988. What I am highly interested in is seeing one of the other 3 colours that were available at the time, according to Mr Visser.

  3. I don't think there had been a deal between Moulinot and Froby creators (who were spanish-basque and already working as assignor to Papeleria Informal...), but between Moulinot and.. TWE. TWE was probably a advertisement agency or so, which certainly bought rights to the patent.

    I contacted Moulinot to ask for all of that, but got no answer (yet). He has become a musician (drums), comedian and movie-director, but he also created a light-and-sound company.

  4. PS: I think Froby was already selling at the end of 1987: notice that the "vu à la TV" is a sticker that has been added after fabrication.

  5. PPS: what i'm quite sure of is, since the Flapi I have comes directly from Donosti-San Sebastian, where the Papeleria Informal was located, is that Flapi was the spanish original, and Froby the french 2nd version.

  6. I agree with you that Moulinot is likely to have had a deal with TWE. Good to point out that "vu à la TV" is a sticker, I hadn't noticed that. It was probably added right after Moulinot's appearance on the Jacques Martin show.

    If anything, the significance of this post is that we now have an explanation for the Spanish Flapi and the French Froby. The Froby made it as far north as Antwerp, Belgium. It would be a surpise had it turned up in Germany or the Netherlands.

  7. Yes, Maikel, all makes sense, finally.