Innovation: US Patents related to the Trumpet, Vol 1 Drainage Devices (1848-2014)


Innovation: US Patents related to the Trumpet, Vol 1 Drainage Devices (1848-2014)




R. Dale Olson

All United States patents related to the trumpet, approximately 800, and a one page critique on each, comprise this work, enveloped within the general title, “Chronology of Innovation”.  Identifying the specific number of patents imposes certain ambiguities which thwart the goal of comprehensiveness.  Some inventions, such as rotary valves, may be applied to trumpets, although basically intended for use on instruments such as French horns.  If mechanically feasible, all appropriate patents have been included.  Numerous patents related to key pads, such as used on waterkeys, have been noted in an Appendix, but not specifically reviewed except for one representative invention.  

Obviously, brass instrument technology enjoys a history predating United States patents which began in 1790, and a wealth of technical information resides within patents and other prior art of European and, more recently, Asian countries.  However, this present work remains focused on United States patents. The first patent granted by the United States government related to trumpets appears to have been an invention for a rotary valve by Thomas D. Paine, of Smithfield, Rhode Island on November 14, 1848 (#5919).  This current work recognizes that invention as a beginning, and the invention of a waterkey by Titus L. Hutchinson, Sr., on December 11, 2014 (#2014/0360337), as the terminal point.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office employs approximately fifteen categories into which all patents for trumpets are placed.  This current work will ultimately include approximately 30-35 categories which have been created to facilitate research by musicians often untrained in the skill of patent searching.  As an example of these additional categories, the overall classification of “Valves” will include sub-categories that will separate patents which describe valve guides from those focused on valve stroke, and port design, etc.  Many United States patents make multiple claims, resulting in individual patents being classed under several different categories.  In such cases, the same patent has been reviewed for both categories and placed within the appropriate classes.

Each subject of the new classification system will be contained in a separate book length work, or, in some cases, bound with similar topics.  In each book, introductory material will be included as well as a one-page critique of each patent, and a one page graphic taken directly from the official patent. In that different categories have different numbers of patents, final books will be of different length.  The final printed version of the book on “Valves”, as one example, is expected to be approximately 400 pages, whereas the work on “Tremolo and Vibrato Devices” may only be approximately 50 – 60 pages. 

New categories, not included within the USPTO system, have been created.  A category of “Lubrication Systems” will be created.  Books on “Cybernetics” and “Ergonomics” will be offered.  Both fields have comparatively recent origins and represent what the author feels may be the two most salient paths for future pedagogy.  Very few patents were originally directed toward the field of Ergonomics (or “Human Factors”), and even fewer on Cybernetics.  Interestingly, patents from as early as the 19th. Century disclose inadvertent inventions that may appropriately be included under the categories of Cybernetics and Ergonomics when viewed from a contemporary, adaptive, perspective.  A wealth of information regarding the application of both fields to trumpet performance and pedagogy currently lies dormant. 

RDO-002, 158 pages, soft cover, perfect binding (Please allow three to four weeks for delivery)

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R. Dale Olson, biography

Originally from the state of Texas, Olson holds the Master’s Degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of North Texas, and the Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. In 2007, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Texas.

Early teachers were Everett James (Harry’s father), John J. Haynie, Renold Schilke, John Clyman, and Vladimir Drucker. Over many years, his research associates have included Dr. Robert W. Young, President of the Acoustical Society of America, Zig Kanstul, and William T. Cardwell, Jr.

Extensive research over sixty years has resulted in completion of approximately twenty book length works on trumpet performance, design, and testing. Only now, in 2019, is Olson releasing these works for publication.

Dale is currently involved in a monumental work of analyzing every United States patent related to trumpet ever granted, referred as the “Chronology of Innovation”. This research effort will ultimately result in multiple volumes, each addressing different physical elements of trumpet design. The first in this series, “Drainage Devices” has been published in 2019, and the second, “The Trumpet Mute” is scheduled for publication by the end of 2019.

Olson has lectured at numerous Conferences of the International Trumpet Guild, University of Edinburgh, Scottish International Trumpet Festival, Rice University, and many colleges and universities.

 With his wife, Diane, Olson has homes in Orange County, California, Indian Wells, California, and Galveston Island, Texas. He has long lectured and written on the subject of Gulf Coast Piracy and the life of Jean Laffite and maintains a collection of vintage English automobiles.