Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

The Jewsaphone

jewsaphone Yes, the Jewsaphone. This is the coolest though not the most musically useful Jew’s harp I own. I had to have one though I don’t play it often.

Perhaps the most positive aspect of owning a Jewsaphone is that it slowed down my habit of acquiring any old Jew’s harp I could get my hands on. More often than not the old harps I have found either never worked well or no longer worked well do to abuse. Acquiring a Jewsaphone felt like the “Citizen Kane” of the process of gathering twangy relics.

I recently got a webcam. This can be dangerous.

Here’s my first video for your musical adventure, enlightenment and pleasure

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8 Comments

  1. Doug Berch

    Thank you!

  2. Doug Berch

    Hi Karl,

    Always good to hear from another friend of the boing! I’ll look and see if i can find the article Harm had sent me. Also, feel free to contact me about getting his email address.

    All the best,

    Doug

  3. Karl Koster

    Hi Doug,
    Loved the jewsaphone. I will be discussing Jews harps at a talk in a few weeks. Basically harps in use during the Canadian/American Fur Trade. I was wondering if you ever got that article from Harm, and if you are able to share a copy? OR if Harm can send me a copy?
    I am getting fascinated with this instrument, then again, I love all things Jews Harp.
    Thanks,
    Karl Koster

  4. Doug Berch

    I’d be happy to send you pictures and would also appreciate a copy of the article.

    Please email me at dberch (at) gmail.com with your email address and I will send them to you.

    All the best,

    Doug

  5. Harm

    Eh sorry, I forgot, Yes I would like some pictures of it for my archive, that way we can (maybe) compare and establish a sequence in appearances.
    By the way did you know that there was also a smaller jewsaphone also AP&M, that AP&M still exists, that the inventor of the jewsaphone Harry W. Pidgeon was the founder and president of the AP&M untill 1939.
    More of that in my article for journal 4 of the International Jew’s Harp Society. Would you like a copy of the article?

    Cheers, Harm

  6. Harm

    So what I can say about your jewsaphone, it is from may 1932 or later (since the patent is from may 1932). The direction of the logo’s and texts indicate an early instrument as far as I know. This is also true for the open eye on the tip of the tongue. Later ones like mine have the texts and logo’s up side down from the players perspective and a closed eyelet.

    Yours Harm.

  7. Doug Berch

    Dear Harm,

    Thank you for your letter.

    I’m happy to hear you are researching the Jewsaphone.

    Mine does have the patent number on it (pat.1857400) and the logo and text is readable from the player’s view.

    The tip of the trigger is an open eye.

    How fascinating to learn that there are variations. My instrument is the only one I have seen in person.

    Let me know if you would like some photographs or any other information.

    All the best,

    Doug

  8. Harm

    Dear Doug,
    Just discovered this film on You Tube (via Google), nice specimen and over 70 years old I gather. When it has a patentnumber on it than it’s from 1932 or later, if not then it is from 1930 untill 1932. Interesting is to know in what direction the logo’s and texts are, readable from the players view or upside down from the players view. And is the tip of the tongue an open eye or is it closed with a drop of tin? If we can find a pattern in this maybe someday we can date these instruments more exact. I wrote an article on this for the fourth journal of the International Jew’s Harp Society (Feb. 2008).
    Nice film.

    Yours sincerely,
    Harm J. Linsen
    Heesch,
    the Netherlands

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Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers