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Joseph Dickinson | African American Inventors and their Inventions

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Joseph Dickinson

Shakespeare wrote that music soothes the savage beast, and a life without music would be  a mistake, to paraphrase Nietzsche. Regardless of what your musical preferences are, we cannot underestimate the importance of music in our lives, whether it be to relax, dance, or find catharsis. Obviously music would not be possible if there were no instruments to play. The harpsichord was the precursor to several instruments, but the growth from clanging plucked strings to modern hammers gently caressing steel, or organs artfully utilizing the power of air pressure and metal, was not a smooth one. In fact, several key inventors played an unlikely role in developing the instruments that we now know and love. One such key figure is Joseph Dickinson.

Dickinson earned himself a number of patents for his work in the field of music. He attempted to improve sound quality by adjusting the way in which sound was produced by pianos as well as organs. In terms of developing the piano as we know it today, he created a way in which players could better control the dynamics of the music. But his real contribution came in the way of organs.

Dickinson was drawn into the world of organ design and improvement by the family of his wife. Working at the successful instrument makers, who specialized in the design of reed organs, Dickinson came to several breakthroughs, all of which have culminated in the fabulous instruments that we adore today.

 

 

In his lifetime Joseph Dickinson received many patents, and his contribution is one that is not only technically impressive, but also brings joy to our ears and nourishment to our souls. Small alterations and improvements can mean the difference between beauty and failure, and the work of Dickinson has made him an essential member of the African American inventive elite.

 
 
 
 

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