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Publication numberUS8338 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date2 Sep 1851
Publication numberUS 8338 A, US 8338A, US-A-8338, US8338 A, US8338A
InventorsWilliam B. Tilton
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Construction of violins
US 8338 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)




Specification of Letters Patent No.

To all whom t may concern:

Be it known that I, WILLIAM B. TiLroN, of Carrollton, in the county of Pickens and State of Alabama, have invented an improvement in the construction of violins, violoncellos, and other similar stringed instrun ments of music acted on bythe finger or bow, whereby the tones of such instruments are materially improved both in volume and quality; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full and exact description of my said invention.

In order that the nature of my invention may be clearly understood, it is necessary to state, that, in violins and other musical instruments of the same class, as at present constructed, the upper portion of the body of the instrument (commonly called the soundboard) is firmly attached by glue, or cement, at its two extremities, to two solid pieces of wood, one of these being sometimes the extremity of the neck, where it joins the body, and which, in such cases, projects A into the interior, but more usually a block is introduced at the neck end, and the other being a similar block introduced into the interior at the opposite end, and secured by glue, or cement, to both the top and bottom of the violin for the purpose of giving it strength, and of holding firmly the button, or knob, which is placed externally at that end to serve, as a point of resistance to the strain or tension of the strings, the extent of surface by which the sound-board is attached to those two solids is suficiently great to materially impair its freedom of vibration; but it cannot be reduced any considerable degree in the instrument as commonly constructed, without rendering -t-he connections too weak to endure the strain to which they are subjected by the tension of the strings. Since, moreover, the sound-board itself, in the violin of ordinary construction, receives, in the direction of its fibers the entire force of the longitudinal strain, it is necessary that the thickness of this sound-board should be regulated, in a measure, with reference to strength, and not with a soie regard to the best capacity for vibration.

The nature of my improvement may therefore be understood, by saying, that it consists in the introduction of a longitudinal bar C between the neck block and the tail block and in detaching the sound-board from its connection with the two solid pieces of wood at the extremities of the instrument, as

8,338, dated September 2, 1851.

before described, making its contact with them no broader than where it meets the hoop of the instrument in every other part j thus relieving the sound-board altogether from the duty of sustaining the longitudinal force of tension of the strings, and in reducing its thickness below what would be regarded as prudent when this force is to be resisted; keeping in view only the capacity to produce the most eective vibration. And, in order to provide the necessary resist-ance to the longitudinal tension, since the sound-board is not employed by me for that purpose, the aforesaid bar C is introduced into the interior of the violin sufficiently strong and flexible and extending longitudinally between the two aforesaid blocks of wood and fastened immovably to both, which bar of wood I name the supporter, this supporter C may be a prolongation of the neck itself, very much reduced in dimensions extending through the interior of the violin, or other instrument; but from a regard to economy of material, and as an addition to ordinary instruments I prefer to make it a separate piece, let in with a tenon and mor tise, into the two blocks A, B', at the extremities, and firmly glued in, or otherwise immovably fastened at the joints.

The two solid pieces of wood A, B above spoken of I make as deep, just at the border of the instrument, next the hoop, as they are leftin similar instruments of the usual construction, but I bevel them away toward the interior, or otherwise reduce them, so that-they shall n-ot touch the sound-board except at the edge, leaving enough of the outer edge of each block to supply the place of the fillet, or lining, which extends around both inside edges of the hoop of the instrument. At bottom I reduce or bevel them away, in like manner, from the lower table of the instrument, or I omit or not to do this, at my discretion, or pleasure. In all other respects my improved'instruments are constructed precisely in the same manner as similar instruments of the usual construction, operated on by the bow or finger, and it is perfectly practicable to introduce my improvement into instruments already manufactured, or now in use, made upon the common plan, and I do propose so to introduce it.

I shall now endeavor to give so minute and detailed a description of the several parts and particulars of my improvement,

that any competent artisan may be enabled to construct the violin or adapt 1t to others of the usual constructioinor. other `similar stringed instrument. Upon inyf'pla, with--^` Figure l, is a view of the neck of an ordi'- nary violin. Fig. 2 is a horizontal section showing the introduction" of'tlie supporter'- C. Fig. 3 is a vertical and longitudinal sectionrof so much of the same', throughth'e middle, as the-purposes of thisV description require.""` H L *fInf all vthe -'gures the same letters'of reference denote theLsamey parts. i y A'in` all the figures represents the end'of the neckor'blockv projecting into the body of the instrument`,'-this projecting 'endor block, which, in the instrument as usually constructed represented ini Fig.'v l is', whereever it .projects inward, in. 'close' Contact witlfthe sound-board E and is' secured to the'jsame by means of glue, or cement, throughout its entire upper surface'. ,ln myimproved instruments Icut away or bevel said block A" leaving,"a's aforesaid', only the outeredge of the sound-board in connection with it.m VThe-angle ofthe bevel, or rapidityo'f reduction, is not material, p'rovi'dedit be sufficient to thus separate the sound-'board 4E from the-solid block A. -On' the'underside Vof Ithe lsaid bloc'k-Aluredu'ce, or bevel away, the vsame projecting extremity' of the neck, separating 'itin like manner',Y from' the bottom or` table vof .the in'- strument,"in'most cases, but not invariably.' B, in-ally the' figures, represents' the other strengthening block: to the whole upperV surfacev of which, ink the instru'1nent,"as usually constructed,the sound-board is firmly at'- tached yby means ofi glue orlcementythis is likewise reduced, or beveled awayrortrem'ovejd 'from the sound-board, 'inmy mproved 'instrument -preeisely as 'the Aproject-V ing' end of the neck, or the block of wood in lieu thereof'at the neck-end, is reducedyor beveled', as' above" described; and it is, fin most 'of my instrumenta-in like 'manner,re'v duced, or 'beveled away from the bottom or undersidein'like manner." "At A and B, in Fig. 3,'these bevels are represented', as 'I usually makethem.

'Dl represents the bridge piece, ,andV Fy the sound post made in the usual manner. c is'th'e representation of he bar of wood, o1iv the' supporter, which I" introduce' into my improved instruments to sustain the force ofteiision offthe strings. This `supporter c,

asl heretofore" described, in this specification, may be a prolongation of the same piece of material from which the neck is wrought, reduced to the proper form; but'I' usually make it of a separate piece of wood, introduced into corresponding grooves cut into the two solid blocks A, B, at the two extremities and firmly glued, or otherwise iminovably fastened at those points, as seen inplan'," at Aand" B,"'i"n Fig. 2 and Fig. 3. The form of this supporter c is represented generally, in Fig. 3, in which latter' figure it isbest seen as a simple straight bar, deeper at the endsr than elsewhere, to give considerable breadth to the surfaces of contact with the solid parts ofthe blocks in the grooves where it is glued and is as deep as those solid blocks A, B, themselves; It is much reduced between the extremities,- for the sake of lightness andl also that 'itvmayoccupy as little ofthe interior space las' possible vv(see Fig. 3).; Though I' usually make it of wood the substance of which yit maybe formed .is not important, as it can be ymade of any otherpinaterial'of sufficient rigidityr not linconsistent-with the preservation ofthe character of the instrument, nor -do I confine myself to yany exact dimensions-of my supporter c in length, breadth,- or` thickness, because thosedimensions must vary with the varying'size of the instrumentinto which itis introduced, and mayvsomewhat force of tension'ofthe strings, the thicknessl of the bottom and: top, (but especially the sound-board) is ina condition to be considerably" reduced `below that which -is given 5to the same board in similar instruments of the ordinary construction,- particularly---at f those thick'parts o-fthe top andi bottom,f-(espe cially the top) hitherto-glued, to, `and-'adj a-1 cent to, the ytwo end-blocks A,'`B-by which means the vibrating power is sensibly increased andequalized; and while I `do not' claimv such. reduction, -or thinning of the two tables asa material part of this my invention, which l ,am seeking to secure by Letters.y Patent, yet 'l claimV it asf one 11n-- portant feature of my ysupporter 0 that. it leaves mefree to lreduce those tables asA my judgment'may dictate, havingregard to the quality ofthe materialef which each instrumenti is made, and particularly -in introducingv` my f improvement -into 'instruments already `const-"ructed'on the oldplan. i

Having thus described the construct-ion and effect of `my improvement of" thevioli-n,

&c:, what I Aclaim asfmy invention and desire to secure by Letters'Patent is 1. The introduction into the body of the instrument, Aof the bracebar or supportera, constructed '-of any suitable material, and of anyrequ-isite -form between Y-the upper and lower extremities thereof inserted either. finto blocks of "wood A and B or instead .ofA into an elongation of the neck to answer the same purpose, by which means' I am enabled to give strength to the instrument to resist the strain of the strings, and disconnect the sound board E E and the table or back from the blocks A and B, said brace or supporter e sustaining the tension of the strings, preserving in tune and also materially improving the tone, in quality, volume and melody, of instruments to which this improvement is applicable.

2. I also claim the manner of increasing the vibration of the sound board E E and the table or back, by the cutting away or removing the before described portions of blocks A and B in the manner and for the purpose set forth in the foregoing specifi cation and accompanying drawings.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto signed my name before two subscribing witnesses.



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US3981219 *9 Sep 197421 Sep 1976Johns Robert HPractice violin and bow
US7507885 *23 Feb 200724 Mar 2009Coke David AStructure for musical instrument body
US20080105101 *7 Nov 20068 May 2008Joachim EldringSplit solid body electric guitars
US20080202310 *23 Feb 200728 Aug 2008Coke David AStructure for Musical Instrument Body
Cooperative ClassificationG10D3/02