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Images from The Alan G. Bates Harmonica Collection

Typotone (Tuning Device) by Pinsonnat, Amiens, France, ca. 1830

NMM 8206.  Typotone (tuning device) by Pinsonnat, Amiens, France, ca. 1830

NMM 8206. Typotone (tuning device) by Pinsonnat, Amiens, France, ca. 1830. Mother-of-pearl plate; gold reed; two gold rivets. The maker's name and serial number (64) are inscribed on the front of the plate; the gold reed is hallmarked with the letter, P, inside a diamond. Original case. Length: 29.7 mm; width: 16.6 mm; height: 2.8 mm. Alan G. Bates Collection, 20002.

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The Typotone, patented by Pinsonnat of Amiens on January 17, 1829, was approved for use by the Conservatoire de Musique, Paris, as a tuning device constructed to sound the pitch, A=441 vps. A freely vibrating reed, made of hallmarked gold, is attached to an opening in the center of a tiny, mother-of-pearl plate, about the size of a postage stamp. Deep grooves cut into the long sides of the mother-of-pearl plate enable a player to hold the device securely between the teeth. Merely breathing over the free reed sets it into vibration, freeing the player's hands to tune a violin or viola. The original, leather covered box also survives, with TYPOTONE stamped in gold across its red cover.



Lit.:  Margaret Downie Banks, "From the Four Winds . . . A Rare Triple Ĉolina and a Typotone Both Added to the Alan G. Bates Collection," National Music Museum Newsletter 30, No. 3 (August 2003), pp. 4-5. Reprinted in The Trumpet Call (A Publication of Harmonica Collectors International) 5, Issue 3 (September 2003): 4-5.


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