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Publication numberUS3285116 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 15, 1966
Filing dateJun 15, 1964
Priority dateJun 15, 1964
Publication numberUS 3285116 A, US 3285116A, US-A-3285116, US3285116 A, US3285116A
InventorsRhodes Harold B
Original AssigneeColumbia Broadcasting Syst Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable piano-type instrument incorporating a sustaining pedal
US 3285116 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 15, 1966 H. B. RHODES 3,

PORTABLE PIANO-TYPE INSTRUMENT INCORPORATING A SUSTAINING PEDAL Filed June 15, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. Akzom B. IPA 0065 United States Patent "ice 3,285,116 PORTABLE PIANO-TYPE INSTRUMENT INCOR- PORATING A SUSTAINTNG PEDAL Harold B. Rhodes, Anaheim, Calif., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed June 15, 1964, Ser. No. 375,230 11 Claims. (Cl. 84-176) This invention relates to piano-type musical instrument which is portable, yet which may be assembled for use in a minimum of time and without making mechanical connections of any sort. v .s

Prior art electrical musical instruments of the piano type, particularly those wherein a reed or tine was vibrated in response to pressing of a piano key, have in certain instances been made portable in order that professional and amateur musicians would not be forced to use unfamiliar instruments when performing before audiences in various locations. Heretofore, however, such portable instruments have been characterized by the necessity for attaching piano legs, and an unsatisfactory cable-type sustaining-pedal device, to the main body of the instrument. Furthermore, such prior-art portable instruments were characterized by the absence of largediameter high-quality loudspeakers, because the provision of such speakers in the main body of the instrument would diminish greatly the portability thereof.

In view of the above and other factors relative to portable piano-type electrical musical instruments, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an instrument wherein the speaker portion supports the piano portion.

Another object of the invention is to provide a pianotype electrical musical instrument which may be transported in two separate components one of which incorporates the tone-generator mechanism as well as a major portion of the damper and damper-release mechanism, and the other of which incorporates the amplifier and high-quality loudspeaker apparatus as well as the remaining portion of the damper-release mechanism, characterized in that the two components may be assembled in a few seconds without the necessity of making any mechanical connections whatsoever.

A further object of the invention is to provide a twocomponent portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, wherein the associated portions of the damperrelease mechanism do not in any way protrude from the various sections of the instrument.

Another object is to provide a two-component portable piano-type electrical musical instrument incorporating spring-bias means to prevent undesired movement of portions of the sustaining-pedal mechanism during shipment.

These and other objects will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view illustrating the portable piano in fully-assembled condition, ready for P y FIGURE 2 illustrates the upper portion of the instrument just. prior to mounting thereof on the lower portion of the instrument;

FIGURE 3 is a transverse sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIGURE 1 and showing the damper-release mechanism incorporated in the upper and lower portions of the instrument;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view illustrating one of the means for registering in predetermined relationship the upper and lower sections of the instrument;

3,285,116 Patented Nov. 15, 1966 FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken on line 55 of FIGURE 3, showing the damper-release element and the pivotal means for mounting the same;

FIGURE 6- is an enlarged vertical fragmentary sectional view taken on line 66 of FIGURE 3 and illustrating the cooperative portions of the damper-release means in the upper and lower sections of the instrument;

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of a part of the damper-release means; and

FIGURE 8 is an exploded view illustrating the two sections of the instrument in condition for shipment.

Referring to the drawings, the apparatus is illustrated to comprise an upper or piano section 10, and a lower or piano-support section 11. Section 10 includes the piano keys (forming the keyboard), piano actions, vibrating tone-generator elements, and mechanical-electrical transducers. The lower section 11 includes a high-quality amplifier and loudspeaker apparatus, being sufficiently large that the loudspeakers employed may be substantial in size. The upper and lower sections 10 and 11 each include portions of a damper-release mechanism which forms an important part of the present apparatus.

Proceeding first to a description of the piano section 10, this includes a support block or base 12 which extends horizontally between a pair of vertically-disposed wooden end members 13 (FIGURE 5). Additional wooden elements 14 and 15 extend horizontally between end members 13 in spaced and parallel relationship above support block 12. The various elements 12-15 form the frame or support portion of piano section 10.

Mounted on the support block 12 are a multiplicity of elongated piano keys 16 and piano actions 17, the latter including hammers 18. Such elements 1618 are described in detail in my co-pending patent application Serial No. 225,917, filed September 24, 1962, now abandoned, for Piano Action. Corresponding elements are described in my Patent No. 2,972,922, issued February 28, 196 1, for Electrical Musical Instrument in the Nature of a Piano.

As described in my co-pending patent application Serial No. 241,270, filed November 30, 1962, now abandoned, for Apparatus for Mounting a Tone Generator, and for Positioning the Same Relative to a Transducer, a multiplicity of vibratory tuning-fork tone generators 20, including low-mass vibrating elements 21, are mounted above the respective keys and hammers. The tuning- -fork elements 20 are supported by means of channeltype mounting means 22 which, in turn, are supported on the elements 14 and 15. The manner of mounting the tuning-fork elements 20 on the mounting means 22 is such that the locations of the tuning forks may be adjusted in order to vary the response generated in mechanical-electrical transducers (electromagnetic pickups) 23 which are adapted to be connected to the amplifier and loudspeaker means.

Each of the piano actions 17 includes a damper arm 25 which is resilient in nature, incorporating a damper means (normally formed of felt) which remains in contact with an associated vibrating element 21 at all times except during actuation of the associated piano key 16, and except during operation of the damper-release means to be described hereinafter. More specifically, upward pivotal movement of a hammer 18, caused by pressing of the related piano key 16, causes operation of a strap 26 to pull down on the damper arm 25 and thus release vibrating element (tine or reed) 21 for vibration in response to striking thereof by the hammer. The resilient damper arms 25, and portions of the piano actions 17,. are mounted on a block 27 which, in turn, rests on th support block or base 12.

The portion of the damper-release mechanism which is incorporated in the upper or piano section 10 comprises an angle plate 28 (FIGURES 3 and having cars 29 adapted for pivotal mounting of the angle plate to end members 13, for example by means of suitable bolts 31 shown in FIGURE 5. The pivotal mounting means for the angle plate are disposed adjacent the rear of mounting block 27, being connected to generally the center portion (as viewed in FIGURE 3) of the angle plate.

The forward edge portion of angle plate 28 extends over the base portions of the resilient damper arms 25, being provided with a felt pad 32 adapted to prevent noise and wear when the forward plate portion is pivoted downwardly. The weight distribution of the angle plate 28 is such that the felt is normally spaced (by gravity) above the damper arms 25, as shown in FIGURE 3. Alternatively, or additionally, resilient means may be provided to maintain the damper plate in the illustrated normal (retracted) position.

The rear portion of the angle plate is provided with an actuating ear or lug 33 (FIGURE 7) which has a felt pad 34 on the lower surface thereof in order to receive, in a noise-free manner, the upper end of a piston or plunger 36 (as "best shown in FIGURE 6). Plunger 36, in turn, rides noiselessly in a felt bushing or liner 37 which is mounted in the vertical bore in a block 38, the latter being located to the rear of support block 12 indicated above. More specifically, the support block 38 is suitably glued or otherwise secured in the rear corner portion of an outer housing 39 forming part of the case of the piano section 10. Such outer housing may be covered with decorative plastic or cloth.

Housing 39 has formed therein an opening 41 which is registered with the lower end of piston or plunger 36, such lower end being provided with a felt pad 42 as shown in FIGURE 6. Suitable means, for example in the form of a cross bar 43, are provided to prevent downward shifting of plunger 36 into the opening 41.

In summary, therefore, the cross bar 43, which rests on a felt pad or washer 46 (FIGURE 6) at the upper end of block 38, prevents downward pivoting of the rear portion of damper-release lever 28 below the position shown in FIGURE 3. It is emphasized that the lower end of plunger 36 is recessed relative to the bottom surface of housing 39, so that the plunger cannot in any way interfere with transportation or assembly of the instrument.

As shown in FIGURE 8, the outer housing 39 may form the lower part of a rectangular housing having an upper or cover section 47. These sections may be suitably secured together, as by latch means (not shown), to facilitate transportation of the instrument. The line of joinder between the upper and lower sections 47 and 39 is preferably inclined, as illustrated, in order to improve the appearance of the instrument and to facilitate access to the piano keys 16.

The remaining portions of the piano section comprise a decorative inner cover 48 which mounts suitably over the frame elements 1215 and conceals the mounting means 22. Electrical control means 49 are suitably disposed adjacent the cover 48 to change the volume and tone of the generated sound. Means are provided to effect a predetermined registry of the upper section 10 with thelower section 11, as will be described hereinafter.

Proceeding next to the description of the lower or support section 11, this comprises a rectangular wooden frame orcabinet 51 the thickness of which is much less than the corresponding horizontal dimension of upper section 10. Sound-transmissive grill cloth 52 is provided on at least one major vertical face of the lower section, over a large opening therein, to permit transmission into the room of sound from a suitable amplifier and loudspeaker means indicated schematically at 53 (FIGURE 3). It is to be understood that the speakers (which may be large in diameter) are conventionally mounted directly adjacent the grill cloth 52, it being one feature of the present apparatus that the sound system may be of a much higher quality than in the case of a one-piece electrical piano of the portable type.

Retractable legs 56 and 57 are mounted to the frame 57 by means of horizontal arms 58, the latter being pivotally associated with the upper and lower portions of the frame. The arms 58 are connected to the frame in such manner that the legs 56 and 57 may be pivoted inwardly to a position adjacent grill cloth 52, as shown in FIG- URE 8, thereby facilitating transportation of the lower section 11. During transportation, the legs 56 and 57 may serve additionally as handles or carrying means for the lower section.

The remaining portions of the damper-release means comprise a foot pedal 59 which is pivotally mounted at 61 (FIGURE 3) to blocks 62 which, in turn, are mounted on the lower portion of frame or cabinet 51. The forward portion of the foot pedal 59 is hinged at 63 in such manner that such forward portion may be pivoted upwardly to the retracted position shown in FIGURE 8, and in phantom in FIGURE 3, to facilitate transportation of the unit. At the rear end of foot pedal 59 is mounted an adjustable stop screw 64 adapted to bear against the lower part of frame 51, thus determining the position to which the pedal 59 rises after the musician removes his foot therefrom.

An elongated connector element 66 is connected to the upper surface of pedal 59, rearwardly of pivot 61, and serves to actuate a generally horizontal lever 67. Such lever has a forward end which is pivoted at 69 to suitable blocks provided on the lower surface of the upper component of frame 51. The center portion of lever 67 has mounted thereon a wear plate 71 against which bears a leaf spring 72, such spring being suitably mounted to the upper component of frame 51. Spring 72 biases lever 67 downwardly, to the extreme position permitted by the stop screw 64. The spring 72 also serves to prevent movement of the various components during transportation of the unit.

At the rear end of lever 67 is pivotally connected an upwardly-extending plunger 73 which projects through an opening in a guide element 74. Such opening is registered with a larger opening 76 (FIGURE 6) in the upper portion of frame 51. When the foot pedal 59 is depressed, it operates through elements 66 and 67 to raise the plunger 73 to the extreme position permitted by an I adjustable screw 75, the latter being mounted in level 67 and being disposed to bear against the under surface of guide element 74.

The upper portion of frame 51 is recessed as shown at 77 in FIGURES 2, 4 and 8, to receive corresponding registry buttons 78 on the lower surface of the outer housing 39 of upper section 10. The locations of elements 77 and 78 are such that, when the buttons or protrusions 78 are disposed in recesses 77, the openings 41 and 76 will be registered as shown in FIGURE 6. It follows that by merely disposing the upper section 10 in the described registered position on lower section 11, the plunger 73 of the damper-release mechanism in the lower section is registered in alignment with the plunger 36 of the damper-release mechanism in the upper section. Thus, upward movement of plunger 73 will lift the plunger 36 and effect corresponding counterclockwise pivotal movement of damper-release element 28 (FIGURE 3) to depress all of the damper springs 25 and thus free the tines 21 for sustained vibrational movement.

The unit is transported in the condition shown in FIGURE 8, with legs 56 and 57 pivoted to retracted positions adjacent the grill cloth 52, and with the pedal 59 retracted upwardly. The upward section is fully enclosed, by means of the outer housing or cover 47 which fits over the corresponding lower housing 39.

After shipment to a desired point of use, the musician merely disposes the lower section 11 on the floor in the position shown in FIGURE 8, and pivots the legs 56 and 57 until they project outwardly as shown in FIGURES 1 and 2. The pedal 59 is then pivoted downwardly, and the upper section 47 of the upper housing is removed. The upper housing 39 (with contained piano elements) is then merely disposed by means of gravity on the upper surface of the lower section frame 51, it being emphasized that the legs 56 and 57 are important in supporting the keyboard portion of the upper section. The positioning is such that the buttons or protuberances 78 are disposed in recesses 77 in lower section 11.

It is then merely necessary for the musician to plug the amplifier and loudspeaker 53 into a suitable wall socket, and also to connect the upper and lower sections electrically by means of a suitable conductor means which is indicated at L in FIGURE 3.

From the foregoing description it will be understood that an important feature of the invention relates to the supporting of the upper (keyboard) portion of the instrument on a loudspeaker cabinet, in predetermined relationship. The relationship is such that the keyboard overhangs (is cantilevered out from) a front or major face of cabinet 11, permitting the knees of a seated pianist to be disposed beneath the keyboard.

The horizontal dimension of section 10, in a direction parallel to each piano key 16, is much greater than the corresponding horizontal dimension of section 11. Thus,

such horizontal dimension of the upper section may be 22 inches, and the corresponding dimension of the lower section 12 inches.

The vertical dimension of section 11 is such that the keyboard will be at conventional height for playing by an adult pianist when seated on a conventional chair, such chair being disposed on the same supporting surface (floor) as the lower section 11. Thus, the vertical dimension of the lower section may be 25 inches, making the keyboard elevation on the order of 27-28 inches.

The foregoing detailed description is to be clearly understood as given by way of illustration and example only, the spirit and scope of this invention being limited solely by the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, which comprises:

a portable upper section including a multiplicity of piano keys, piano actions, tone generators, and mechanical-electrical transducers,

said elements in said upper section being so constructed and arranged that striking of any piano key operates the related piano action, tone generat-or, and transducer to generate an electrical signal,

portable lower-section means adapted when disposed on a supporting surface to support said upper section,

said lower-section means having a vertical dimension such that when said upper section is supported thereon said piano keys will be at a conventional elevation for playing by an adult pianist when such pianist is seated on a conventional chair disposed on the same supporting surface as said lower-section means,

the horizontal dimension of said lower-section means in a direction parallel to each individual piano key being much less than said corresponding dimension of said upper section,

means to position said upper section on said lowersection means in such manner that the keyboard portion of said upper section overhangs the forward portion of said lower-section means,

loudspeaker means incorporated in said lower-section means, and

electric-circuit means to connect said transducers to said loudspeaker means.

2. A portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, which comprises:

a portable upper section including a multiplicity of piano keys, piano actions, tone generators, and mechanical-electrical transducers,

said elements in said upper section being so constructed and arranged that striking of any piano key operates the related piano action, tone generator, and transducer to generate an electrical signal,

portable lower-section means adapted when disposed on a supporting surface to support said upper section,

said lower-section means having a vertical dimension such that when said upper section is supported thereon said piano keys will be at a conventional elevation for playing by an adult pianist when such pianist is seated on a conventional chair disposed on the same supporting surface as said lower-section means,

means to position said upper section on said lowersection means in such manner that the knees of said pianist seated on said chair are disposed directly beneath the keyboard portion of said upper section,

loudspeaker means incorporated in said lower-section means, and

electric-circuit means to connect said transducers to said loudspeaker means.

3. A portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, which comprises:

a portable upper section including a multiplicity of piano keys, piano actions, tone generators, and mechanical-electrical transducers,

said elements in said upper section being so constructed and arranged that striking of any piano key operates the related piano action, tone generator, and transducer to generate an electrical signal,

portable lower-section means adapted when dispo:ed on a supporting surface to support said upper sec tion,

said lower-section means having a vertical dimension such that when said upper section is supported thereon said piano keys will be at a conventional elevation for playing by an adult pianist when such pianist is seated on a conventional chair disposed on the same supporting surface as said lower-section means, the horizontal dimension of said lower-section means in adirection parallel to each individual piano key being much less than the corresponding horizontal dimension of said upper section, means to position said upper section on said lowersection means in such manner that the keyboard portion of said upper section overhangs the forward portion of said lower-section means,

leg means retractably mounted on said lower-section means to support said overhanging keyboard portion of said upper section,

loudspeaker means incorporated in said lower-section means, and

electric-circuit means to connect said transducers to said loudspeaker means.

4. A portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, which comprises:

a portable upper section including a generally rectangular outer housing a portion of which may be removed to expose a portion of said upper section,

the keyboard portion of said upper section comprising a multiplicity of elongated piano keys each having a piano action and hammer associated therewith,

said upper section further including a multiplicity of vibratory tone generators associated, respectively, with said hammers for actuation thereby,

said upper section further including pickup means opera-bly associated, respectively, with said tone generators to generate electrical signals corresponding to the vibrations of said tone generators,

a generally rectangular lower section adapted at the lower portion thereof to rest on a supporting surface and the upper portion thereof to support said upper and at the upper portion thereof to support said upper section,

the distance between said lower and upper portions of said lower section being such that when said upper section is supported thereon said keyboard portion of said upper section will be disposed on the order of 27-28 inches from said supporting surface for said lower section, said lower section including amplifier and loudspeaker means adapted to be electrically connected to said pickup means and to generate sounds corresponding to the vibrations induced in said vibratory tone generators by said hammers, the dimension of said lower section in a direction parallel to each individual piano key being much less than the dimension of said upper section in said direction when said keys are disposed horizontally in playing condition, said lower section including retractable leg means mounted in retracted position adjacent said lower section and adapted when extended away from said lower section to support said keyboard portion of said upper section, and means to position said upper section on said lower section in a predetermined relationship such that said keyboard portion of said upper section overhangs substantially one major vertical face of said lower section whereby a pianist seated adjacent the instrument may insert his knees beneath said keyboard portion.

5. The invention as claimed in claim 4, in which sustaming-pedal means are mounted in said lower section, in which said upper section further includes damper means adapted to damp vibrations of said vibratory tone generators, in which said upper section also includes damper-release means to discontinue operation of said damper means, in which means are provided to connect said sustaining-pedal means with said damper-release means for operation thereof, said last-named means including separate cooperating elements disposed adjacent the upper surface of said lower section and the lower surface of said upper section and disposed to cooperate with each other to effect operation of said damper-release means in response-to pressing of said sustaining-pedal means when said upper and lower sections are registered in predetermined relationship, and in which means are provided to effect said registry of said upper and lower sections in said predetermined relationship.

6. The invention as claimed in claim 5, in which said means to register said upper and lower sections includes protrusions provided on one of said sections for introduction into recesses in the other of said sections, and in which said cooperating elements comprise first and second plungers disposed to reciprocate adjacent openings in the housings of said upper and lower sections, said plungers being normally retracted within said housings to prevent interference with portability and assembly of the instrument.

7. The invention as claimed in claim 4, in which said retractable leg means comprises first and second legs pivotally mounted to said lower section by means of arms, said legs being vertical and being adapted to pivot about vertical axes to positions adjacent said major vertical face of said lower section.

8. A portable electrical musical instrument of the piano type, which comprises:

an upper section including a plurality of piano keys and associated vibratory tone generators,

said upper section further including damper means to damp the vibrations of each of said tone generators except during periods when the associated piano key is maintained in depressed condition,

said upper section further including damper-release means adapted to release said damper means,

a portable lower section adapted to support said upper section thereon,

said lower section including pedal means adapted to be depressed by the foot of the pianist, said lower section further including means responsive to depression of said pedal means to effect operation of said damper-release means in said upper section when said upper section is registered in a predetermined position on said lower section, and

means to effect registry of said upper section in said predetermined position on said lower section.

9. The invention as claimed in claim 8', in which said means in said lower section responsive to depression of said pedal means comprises a pivotally-mounted lever, spring means to bias said lever to a predetermined position, connector means to connect said pedal means to said lever for actuation thereof, and a plunger connected to said lever for actuation thereby, said plunger being adapted to be inserted through openings in housings for said upper and lower sections when said sections are in said predetermined registered position for actuation of the damper-release means in said upper section.

10. The invention as claimed in claim '9, in which adjustable stop means are provided to limit the movement of said pedal means.

11. The invention as claimed in claim 8, in which said pedal means includes two pivotally-associated sections, the outer one of said sections being adapted to pivot to a retracted position facilitating shipment of the instrument.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS B. WILKINSON, Primary Examiner.

RICHARD

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1157047 *Feb 9, 1915Oct 19, 1915Harold RowntreeDetachable keyboard for pianos.
US2710556 *Feb 13, 1953Jun 14, 1955Central Commercial Ind IncExpression control
US3002412 *Nov 27, 1956Oct 3, 1961Wurlitzer CoPedal structure for electronic piano
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4254684 *Jan 25, 1979Mar 10, 1981Helpinstill Iii Charles TBreakdown piano
US4373418 *Jan 9, 1981Feb 15, 1983Cbs Inc.Tuning fork mounting assembly in electromechanical pianos
WO2006114531A1 *Apr 28, 2006Nov 2, 2006Raoul ParientiFolding electronic piano comprising keyboard-stiffening means
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/176, 984/344, 84/225
International ClassificationG10H1/32
Cooperative ClassificationG10H1/32
European ClassificationG10H1/32