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1897 __ (The first) Teleharmonium (or Telharmonium) — Art of and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically
Thaddeus Cahill (1867-1934)
Comment : “Art of and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically”, US Patent 580,035, dated April 6, 1897, applied February 4, 1896.In 1890's, Thaddeus Cahill was a lawyer and an inventor living in Washington DC. Before inventing the Telharmonium, he mostly invented devices for Pianos and Typewriters. In 1893, after fooling around with his telephone, trying to broadcast music through the phone lines, Cahill had the idea for the Telharmonium. Before the 1920's there was no way to amplify electrical signals. So in order to hear sounds through the telephone, you had to put the receiver up to your ear. Cahill knew that if he could generate a large enough of an electrical signal, and if he stuck a cone on the telephone receiver (much like a gramophone cone) he could transmit music through the telephone that could be heard by an audience. He figured that if he could send music through the telephone at the proper volume, he could set up a tidy business providing music to hotels, restaurants, and even private homes. So, in a large way, Cahill invented what we know of today as "Muzak". By 1896 he had his invention worked out and applied for a patent. In 1898 he was granted, patent #580,035 for the "Art of and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically." In his patent, Cahill used the term "synthesizing." This proves, some say, that the Telharmonium was truly the world's first Synthesizer. The Telharmonium had to create a loud signal. Therefore it had to create a large amount of electricity. Cahill had observed that when an electric motor, or dynamo, was used to create an alternating current (as opposed to a direct current) the output could be heard through a telephone receiver as a steady pitch. The volume of this signal depended on the size of generator. A larger generator created more electricity, and, therefore, more sound. His idea was that if he had enough generators of a sufficient size, one for each note in the scale, he could switch on and off their outputs (or combine them, even) to create music. Cahill's began working on his instrument in 1898 and by 1901 he had his first model. It was a very simple version of his master plan, however, it weighed about 7 tons in all! The process was simple. The generators consisted of 35 long cylinders tone wheels, or rheotomes (although his patent called for 408! This was just a prototype). Around the circumference of the rheotome were raised bumps. When the cylinder rotated, a magnetic coil was held close to the bumps as they spun around. The closer the bumps were to the coil, the more electricity was generated. In between the bumps very little electricity was generated. This alternating current of electricity is what created the sounds. The rheotome cylinder was divided into many sections. Each section had a different amount of bumps around its circumference, and therefore created different pitches. For instance, if the cylinder was rotating at 110 Hz, the section with only one bump would create a pitch of "A" two octaves below A (440 Hz). The section of the cylinder which contained two bumps would play A (220 Hz), and the section which contained four bumps would play A (440 Hz), eight bumps would play A (880 Hz), and so on. Seven of these sections created seven octaves of the same note on one rheotome cylinder. Each cylinder was geared to spin at a different frequency. 12 cylinders created the chromatic scale 7 octaves wide. Dynamics could be created by moving the coils closer and further away from the rheotome. Cahill designed this feature into his keyboard, creating a touch sensitive keyboard. [...] With this instrument, he was able to secure financing from Oscar T. Crosby, who then enlisted his friend, Frederick C. Todd as a business partner. Crosby and Todd then set about the task of getting more financial support for the Telharmonium. They demonstrated the Telharmonium at a fundraising dinner at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. The attendees to the event, mostly bankers and businessmen, were quite impressed as they heard Handel's Largo (from Xerxes) emanate through a large cone attached to the telephone receiver. They were even more impressed that the sound was being broadcasted through the phone lines, from Cahill's factory in Washington, many miles away. The demonstration in Baltimore was a great success, Crosby was able to get enough money to finance the building of the second and more elaborate Telharmonium. In the summer of 1902, Crosby formed the New England Electric Music Company and set Cahill up in a large rented workshop space at the Cabot Street Mill, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Cahill, along with his brothers George and Arthur, began working building the new and improved Telharmonium. (Jay Williston, "Thaddeus Cahill's Teleharmonium")
Original excerpt : « Art of and apparatus for generating and distributing music electrically.Specification forming part of Letter Patent No. 580,035, dated April 6, 1897.Application filed February 4, 1896, Serial No. 578,046. (No. model.).“To all whom it may concerns :” Be it known that I, Thaddeus Cahill, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the city, county, and State of Now York, (residing temporarly at Washington, in the District of Columbia,) have invented a new and useful Art and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically, of which the following is a specification. In a former application of mine, filed August 10, 1895, Serial N° 558,939, an art and apparatus for generating and distributing music electrically is described. The art described in this application is the same art described in the application of August 10, 1895, before mentioned, or, more correctly, the art described in the present case is a part of the art described in the former case, for some processes are described in the former case which are not described in this case. So, also, the apparatus described in this application is its most essential and fundamental features and combinations the same as the apparatus of the former case; but the apparatus of this application differs from the apparatus of the former application in being assimilated to a pianoforte, whereas the apparatus of the former is assimilated to an organ. In each case, indeed, the apparatus is wholly electrical and bears little, if any, real likeness, either in structure or mode of operation, to the instruments now known in the musical art as "pianofortes" and "organs"; but in the sorts of music which they are adapted to produce the apparatus of the present case and the apparatus of the case of August 10, 1895, before mentioned, may be properly said to resemble, respectively, a pianoforte and an organ. The apparatus illustrated in the case of August 10, 1895, being assimilated to an organ, is much more elaborate than the apparatus which I describe in this case. The former case is indeed quite complicated. It shows most of substance of this case and also much that, being peculiar to an organ, is not illustrated in this case. The two cases, it will be seen, with regard to what is shown and described in each, to a great extent overlap, and it becomes necessary to make a clear line of division between them. It is my intention to continue in this present application my claims to so much of the subject-matter of the original application, filed August 10, 1895, as is disclosed in the present case, and I have removed the claims for such subject-matter from the former case in order to prosecute in the original application, Serial N° 558,939, only that subject-matter which belongs peculiarly to it and which is not illustrated or described in this. In other words, the line of division which I draw between this case and the original application, Serial N° 558,939, filed August 10, 1895, is to cover in this case everything illustrated and described in it, asserting herein all claims for subject-matter disclosed alike in the original application and in this application only that subject-matter which is peculiar to it, being disclosed in it alone. The apparatus which I have figured in the accompanying drawings in illustration of my invention is, as above mentioned, in the nature of an electrical pianoforte, but the essential processes and combinations of my invention, set forth in the statement of claim at the end hereof, are equally applicable to electrical music-generating instruments, not being electrical pianoforte. They may be used, to mention one example only out of several, in an electrical music-generating apparatus to an organ. An apparatus of this sort, employing, as before said, the same essential processes and combinations described and claimed in this application, is fully described in the prior application above mentioned, Serial N° 558,939, filed August 10, 1895. The grand objects of my invention are to generate music electrically with tones of good quality and great power and with perfect musical expression, and to distribute music electrically generated by what we may term "original electrical generation" from a central station to translating instruments located at different points and all receiving their music from the same central point; and my invention consists in the parts, improvements, combinations, and methods hereinafter described and claimed. More particularly the objects of my invention are a) to generate by a practical and simple apparatus different styles of rhythmic.1) In an electrical music-generating system, the method of producing composite musical sounds electrically, which consists in (a) producing by induction, in different closed circuits, electric-current undulations corresponding to different component sounds of the composite musical sound desired; (b) synthesizing in a conductor resultant undulations out of the undulations produced, as above mentioned, in a plurality of closed circuits; and (c) translating the built-up electrical undulations into composite aerial vibrations of similar wave form.2) In an electrical music-generating system, the method of producing composite musical sounds electrically, which consists in (a) producing by induction, in different circuits, electric undulations corresponding to different component sounds of the composite musical sound desired; (b) producing in a conductor resultant undulations out of the undulations.[etc.]42) In an electrical music-generating system, and in combination, (a) a plurality of common-receiver vibration-translating devices; (b) a multiplicity of electrical vibration-circuits; (c) a multiplicity of rotatory rate-governors, serving by their rotations to cause electrical vibrations, of different frequencies, to be produced in the circuits before mentioned; (d) driving mechanism for said rotatory rate-governors, whereby different rate-governors are given different angular velocities; and (e) a keyboard of pitch-keys, controlling the action of the vibration-generating devices upon the vibration-translating apparatus.48) An electrical music-distributing system, having a plurality of common-receiver vibration-translating devices, disposed in different places, in combination with an electrical music-generating apparatus, serving to supply music electrically to the various common-receiver vibration-translating devices aforesaid, said electrical music-generating apparatus including (a) electrical vibration-generators, serving to produce electrical vibrations answering to the notes of a musical scale,by induction, and each, in general including a rotatory rate-governor; (b) driving mechanism for said rotatoty rate-governor; and (c) a keyboard of pitch-keys, controlling the action of.56) In an electrical music-generating system, and in combination therein with one or more common-receiver vibration-translating devices, an organization serving to produce electrical undulations corresponfing to the notes of a musical scale and including a multiplicity of current)-mundulation circuits,serving for tones of different pitches; the current-undulation circuits serving for low tones having relatively large amounts of self-induction; the current-undulation circuits seving for tones of mediumpitch having less amounts of self-induction; the current-undulation circuits serving for tones of high pitch, having relatively small amounts of self-induction; such varying amounts of self-induction being given to the different current-undulation circuits that in general each circuit tends strongly to suppress the higher overtones and harsher components of the electrical tone or tones for which it serves, without injuriously weakening the ground tone or ground tones thereof; and inductional undulation-generating mechanism, serving to produce the requisite electrical undulations in the various circuits before mentioned, such undulation-generating mechanism including an organization of rotatory rate-governors, with suitable driving mechanism therefor.75) In an electrical music-generating system, a composite-tone-generating device including, in combination, a circuit, and a plurality of vibration-generating devices, having vibration frequencies corresponding to different partials of the same composite tone, serving to produce vibrations in the circuit before mentioned; and a key, controlling the vibration-generating devices before mentioned. » ([p. 34, lines 112 to 121] [...] »)
Urls : http://www.synthmuseum.com/magazine/0102jw.html (last visited ) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thaddeus_Cahill_Telharmonium_patent_us000580035-011.png (last visited ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPlbXl81Rs0 (last visited ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ym0Gqormk (last visited ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcO5EJnkBIs (last visited ) http://www.freepatentsonline.com/0580035.html (last visited )

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