The inventor will hereby speak for himself about his Solo Trumpet patent featured in our PatentWear design, and granted in 1924.
“I, Ross Hickernell… have invented certain new and useful improvements in Solo Trumpets of which the following is a specification. The trumpet has heretofore been used exclusively as an orchestral instrument, speaking only when the striident quality of tone is desired, and not as a solo instrument. Its tone is hard, inflexible, unsympathetic and even blatant. It lacks that mellowness, flexibility and broader tone which adapts the cornet to solo work. Yet the latter is not an ideal solo instrument, either from a musical standpoint, because of its lack of brilliancy, or from an artistic standpoint, because of its general appearance.
Originally the trumpet was an eight foot C principle, twice as long as the present cornet and trumpet in C, and produced sixteen harmonics in its practical register, with a compass extending one octave deeper than the cornet. There was thus a distinct difference. The trumpet had a refined noble quality of tone, extremely rich and flexible, while the cornet, when first produced, was quite the contrary and at variance with the trumpet quality. It had but eight harmonics and was quite harsh and unrefined in comparison with the trumpet. However, because of its shorter tube and consequent greater separation of harmonics, for certain popular styles of composition, it could be played upon with more assurance and freedom than upon the eight foot trumpet. As a consequence, the cornet grew rapidly in popularity and favor, the old eight foot trumpet became obsolete and the four foot principle was adopted for both the cornet and the trumpet. This transition in the case of the trumpet resulted in the creation of the modern four foot trumpet with a voice so harsh and unmusical as to be unfit for the class of work for which the cornet was invented, to wit, the solo, and it has therefore for many years been relegated to the orchestra.
The trumpet from time immemorial has been regarded as the classic wind instrument, full of grace and charm and in tone it is naturally the soprano of the brasses; yet as now constructed it stands apart and distinct from the other members of the brass family of instruments. The trombone and tuba are in agreement as to tonal quality, each having a clear, free full tone throughout its entire register. On the other hand, the modern trumpet does not even agree with itself in its several registers, the lower register being foggy, the middle register being inclined to break and choke, and the upper register alone being clear but also coarse; and producing no fundamentals.
The object of my invention is to produce a trumpet for solo work, having a quality of tone that is clear, full, resonant and brilliant throughout its register from its lowest to its highest tone, and without any of the harsh, shallow, inflexible, coarse and blatant qualities of tone which heretofore characterized the modern trumpet; and to produce all fundamental tones.
For the purpose of discovering the defects which are responsible for the production of these undesirable qualities, I have conducted a large number of experiments extending over a long period of time. I have discovered that the objections specified can be overcome and the desirable qualities can be produced by changing the construction of certain portions of the instrument while retaining the same arrangement of parts.”
Hickenell goes on to claim very specific details of his “new and useful improvements in Solo Trumpets” with further references to the patent drawing itself. Filed May 24, 1922, the patent was granted to Ross Hickernell on September 23, 1924.