Type: Chordophones > Zithers > Box > Fretless.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122.6
Patent No#: 1,579,780 Paul F. Richter, 1924
Country: United States.
Region: North America.
Description: The ukelin is a bowed zither with multiple number of strings made popular in the 1920s. It is meant to be a hybrid of the violin and ukulele.
History: The history of the ukelin is hard to trace, since there were several instruments resembling the ukelin that were produced in the 1920s. Paul F. Richter filed the first known ukelin patent in December 1924, it was granted in April 1926. The Phonoharp Company, which merged with Oscar Schmidt, Inc.
Due to the issue of overlapping patents the it is unclear as to the confirmation of the inventor. The patent that was filed by John Large, was not granted until after Richter’s patent had already been given. Another similar instrument had a patent filed by Walter Schmidt in 1925. Because of these patents filed one after the other it is unclear who really invented the first ukelin.
Citations: Websites: Google Patents “Stringed Musical Instruments, US 15797800 A” ; The Ukelin and Related Instruments ; Smithsonian Encyclopedia / Ukelin ; Ukulin / Hoboken Historical Museum – Online Collections Database ;