Hammond OrganThe Hammond organ was, invented by Laurens Hammond and John M. Hanert and first manufactured in 1935. Hammond organs generated sound by creating an electric current from rotating a metal tonewheel near an electromagnetic pickup.
- Hammond was inspired to create the tonewheel or "phonic wheel" by listening to the moving gears of his electric clocks and the tones produced by them.
- For all its subsequent success with professional musicians, the original company did not target its products at that market, principally because Hammond did not think enough money was in it.
- The Hammond Organ Company produced an estimated two million instruments in its lifetime; these have been described as "probably the most successful electronic organs ever made".
Battle of the Organs!In 1936, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint claiming that the Hammond Company made "false and misleading". Auditory tests that pitted a Hammond costing about $2600 against a $75,000 Skinner pipe organ in the University of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel.[During the auditory tests, sustained tones and excerpts from musical works were played on the electric and pipe organs while a group of musicians and laymen attempted to distinguish between the instruments.
Early customers of the Hammond included Albert Schweitzer, Henry Ford, Eleanor Roosevelt and George Gershwin.
Read about the shortened pedal board, waterfall key, harmonic percussion and the FTC tests!
Tone WheelsA tonewheel or tone wheel is a simple electromechanical apparatus for generating electric musical notes in electromechanical organ instrument. Details on the mechanics/electronics the make it work:
Laurens HammondLaurens Hammond (1895 – 1973), was an American engineer and inventor. His inventions include, most famously, the Hammond organ, the Hammond clock, and the world's first polyphonic musical synthesizer, the Novachord.
His first patent, in 1912, was for a barometer that could sell for one dollar. In 1922, heinvented the Teleview system of shutter glasses in association with 3-D films. Hammond's work on the synchronous motor led him in 1928 to set up the Hammond Clock Company, with six workers, above a grocery store in Chicago. Demand was high and the business soon grew into a large factory. He was responsible for a number of other inventions, such as an electric bridge table.
During World War II, Hammond helped design guided missile control systems, light-sensing devices for bomb guidance, glide-bomb controls, and a new type of gyroscope. The glide bomb was the forerunner of today's guided missile. During his life he held 110 patents!
See also The Forgotten Genius of Laurens Hammond
About the Telharmonium
- The Telharmonium (also known as the Dynamophone) was an early electrical organ, developed by Thaddeus Cahill circa 1896 and patented way back in 1897… It weighed almost 200 tons!
- Performances in New York City (some at "Telharmonic Hall"-39th and Broadway) were well received by the public in 1906, and the performer would sit at a console (see picture) to control the instrument.
|Telharmonium - 1897|
- The actual mechanism of the instrument itself was so large it occupied an entire room — wires from the controlling console were fed discreetly through holes in the floor of an auditorium into the instrument room itself, which was housed in the basement beneath the concert hall.