Böhm Chromatic with movable reedplate

The Böhm harmonica company founded in 1850 and located in Klingenthal/Germany was one of the major harmonica manufactures in the first half of the twenties century.

The company produced quite an amount of innovative harmonicas. One innovation is described in the patent #DE470354 by Otto Hermann Böhm granted in 1929.

Böhm Music King Chromatic, from my collection. It is based on the 1929 patent by
Otto Hermann Böhm

Böhm Blue Bird also based on the patent from 1929 (from John Whiteman’s collection)

Pat Missin has a detailed technical explanation including pictures showing how this invention works. He also mentions that a similar idea was already patented (# US443607A) in 1890 by John Oefinger and Benjamin F. Butler of Greenfield, Massachusetts.

In 1937 Böhm applied for patent #DE703 133. It was granted in 1941. The idea there was to use the slider to cover one set of reeds instead of shifting an entire reed plate as described in the earlier patent. This functionality was realized in the Böhm tremolo chromatic.

Böhm Tremolo Chromatic showing the internal mechanism
(From John Whiteman’s Collection and Harmonica Anthology)
Böhm Tremolo Chromatic, from my collection
Böhm also came out with a “Blue Bird” version of the Tremolo Chromatic

Update: while visiting the Musikinstrumenten Museum in Markneukirchen, Germany I discovered this chromatic harmonica with a similar slider mechanism, in this case using an internal spring (manufacturer unknown).


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