Multiplex Musical Instrument

John H. Wheeler

Patented August 23, 1892

To all whom it may concern:

Be it know that I, John H. Wheeler, a citizen of the United States, residing at Saugatuck, in the county of Allegan and State of Michigan, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Multiplex Musical Instruments, which improvement is fully set forth in the following specification and accompanying drawings, in which-

Figure 1 is a general view of my improved multiplex musical instrument, and Fig. 2 the same inclosed in an umbrella and smoking cap.

My invention relates to improvements in multiplex musical instruments; and its object is the combination, in one device, of a violin, two french harps, and a flute or flageolet, forming altogether a novel and inexpensive quartette of instruments and an exceptionally attractive source of amusement for social circles and for burlesque musical performances on a concert-stage.

The invention consists of a violin the body of which is contracted in width and depth, but otherwise adapted for strings of the ordinary length and number. The head of the violin is extended in the form of a bar, which provides space for two French harps or mouth-organs and a flute or similar instrument, all serially arranged.

Referring to the accompanying drawings, 1 designates, such as tail-piece, bridge, fingerboard, and tuning-pegs. The top and bottom are made of suitable material and glued to the sides, which consist of a continuous hoop. The size and form of the violin may be made as desired. Practical experiments have shown that an extreme width of three inches and a proportional depth produce a tone of remarkable strength and quality.

The French harps 2 and 3 follow in serial order. They may be inserted on opposite sides of the bar, but preferably on the same side, in order that the performers may face an audience. It is desirable that the harps be of different registers, thereby increasing their compass. The outer end of the bar is bored longitudinally and forms a flute 5, provided with suitable vents 6 and mouth-hole 7. If desired, the flute may be readily transformed into a flageolet by placing a suitable mouthpiece on the end and closing the mouth-hole.

The capacity of the combination may materially increased by providing the flute or flageolet with a suitable number of valves. By this means a performer will be enabled to execute solos in different keys or accompany the violin in duets having chromatic passages. It will be manifest that in the hands of capable musicians it is capable of producing novel and genuine musical effects, as well as being an unfailing and irresistible source of merriment.

The instrument is conveniently protected an made protectable by inclosing it in an umbrella and smoking-cap, as shown in Fig. 2. The umbrella is provided with a tip made in the form of a thimble, which fits the head of the flute and is secured by a set-screw or other suitable appliance. The smoking-cap is first place over the violin and gathered about its neck. The umbrella is then closed over the folds of the cap and fastened in the usual manner.

What I claim as new is-

The herein-described multiplex musical instrument comprising the violin 1, two French harps 2 and 3, and a flute or flageolet 5, serially arranged, as shown, in combination with an umbrella and smoking-cap, substantially as and for the purposes herein set forth.

In testimony that I claim the foregoing I have hereunto set my hand this 5th day of April, 1892, in the presence of witnesses.

John H. Wheeler.


W. A. Woodworth,

Charles Thew