NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

ca 1912 __ Phonopticon
Fay Cluff Brown (1881-1968)
Comment : In the years preceding the First World War, Dr. Fay Cluff (F.C.) Brown invented a device known as the phonopticon, which was an improvement on the optophone invented by Fournier d’Albe in 1912. The phonopticon translated text into sounds which one could learn to decipher with some practice. This generated great interest, especially among the blind, but when the war broke out, its development was stalled. There is no evidence that it was ever developed for the market. François Delsarte reintroduced in to the Paris musical scene and to mechanical inventions such as the phonopticon, a device for tuning musical instruments. (Nancy Lee Chalfa Ruyter, "The Cultivation of Body and Mind in Nineteenth Century American Delsartism")Delsarte has made it especially easy to tune the piano, by means of an instrument that he calls the phonopticon, which it would take too long to describe here. Suffice it to say, that it contains an index-hand that marks the exact instant when two or more strings are in perfect unison. It may be added that the invariable result is so absolutely correct, no matter who may try it or under what conditions, that the most practiced ear could not possibly attain to similar perfection. Acousticians should not fail to examine this invention at once, the use of which cannot be long in becoming universal. (Delsarte System of Oratory)
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