Up until the 1920s, music was recorded by playing or singing towards a large horn. This method worked well for wind instruments, but the quieter, less directional sound of the strings was lost. Around 1900, this problem was solved by Augustus Stroh, a German engineer who had worked under Charles Wheatstone. Stroh's violin had an amplifying horn, ensuring a louder, more directional sound. This version of Stroh's concept is a phonofiddle, invented by Arthur Howson. It has a single string, hardwood neck and fretted ebony fingerboard. The copper amplifying horn is attached to the lower end of the instrument and green felt knee pads are attached to its sides. It was held between the legs like a cello.
Production Date:
ID no:
Object Size:
overall: 820 x 390 x 150 x 180 mm
Horniman Museum, Londons
Object Material:
wood; copper; felt; ebony; ivory; steel; plastic

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