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Chronology of Innovation: Vol I, Drainage Systems, by R. Dale Olson

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CHRONOLOGY OF INNOVATION
UNITED STATES PATENTS RELATED TO THE TRUMPET
1848 – 2014

VOLUME I: DRAINAGE SYSTEMS

R. DALE OLSON


R. Dale Olson's “Chronology of Innovation” is a series of writings that describes and critiques every United States patent even granted related to the trumpet and other brass musical instruments. Completed, the work will represent the largest writing of its kind related to technology of brass instruments.

The author, R. Dale Olson, has categorized patents according to a system that differs from that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, so as to be more accessible to musicians.

The first book in this series relates to “Drainage Systems”, or, more prosaically, “water-keys”. Not all fluids accumulated within the interior of brass instruments may be removed using a traditional water-key. Some fluids escape through the valves, leading to a second category of “drainage devices” that are typically located under the valve section, not within the bore.

Prior literature on the subject is restricted to a very few passing mentions concerning this overlooked, but crucial, element within the design of brass instruments. To compensate for this deficit, Olson has created a 158-page book that provides a comprehensive treatment of this aspect of brass instrument design. Provided is an historic underlayment of the issue, a chapter concerning the acoustical concomitants of the water-key, and critiques of each of 51 inventions that have been accorded a United States patent.

Chapters include
  • An Overview of Drainage Devices
  • A List of All United States Patents Related to Drainage Devices
  • Seven Appendices
  • A Comprehensive Name Index
  • A Complete Bibliography and References

The first United States patent describing a drainage device was an invention by George F. Dallon of Flatbush, New York, on April 21, 1863, and the most recent at the time of publication was by Titus Hutchinson, Sr. of Jacksonville, Florida on December 11, 2014. In the intervening 151 years, drainage devices were invented that included “passive” designs which simply accumulated moisture and “active” inventions requiring the continual operation by the performer. These devices have been located on nearly every part of a trumpet, including one invention that proposed three “discharge valves” or “spheres” positioned on the leadpipe/tuning slide alone!

Only a very few patents address the issue of potential acoustical effects resulting from a water-key, but Olson has explored the subject in detail.

 

CHRONOLOGY OF INNOVATION: AN OVERVIEW
A SERIES OF WRITINGS BY R. DALE OLSON


“Chronology of Innovation” is a series of writings that describes and critiques every United States patent even granted related to the trumpet and other brass musical instruments. Completed, the work will represent the largest writing of its kind related to technology of brass instruments.

The author, R. Dale Olson, has categorized patents according to a system that differs from that of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, so as to be more accessible to musicians.

Olson has long been recognized as one of the foremost international authorities regarding the design, acoustics, construction, history, and performance of the trumpet. He holds Masters degrees in Trumpet Performance from the University of North Texas, and in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. He has lectured at numerous universities, and multiple presentations to the International Trumpet Guild. At the age of 25, Olson became Director of Research for the firm of F.E. Olds and Son, Inc., and has consulted with other makers over a career now covering over seven decades. His professional performing career covered over fifty years. After extensive research and active participation in the field of brass instrument technology, some of Olson’s selected works are now being published. His writings have been referred to as “…paradigms of precision in research and writing”.

The total number of each Volume within the “Chronology of Innovation” series will approximate 10 – 15. Volume I, “Drainage Systems”, was published in 2018, and Volume II, “The Trumpet Mute” is being announced in October, 2020. Volume III, the title and subject of which has not yet been disclosed, is anticipated to be available early in 2021.

Each Volume contains an exceptionally full background of each subject, including the history, design, acoustical implications, and context of the subject patent. The original graphic from the original United Sates patent, with a full description and critique of each invention is provided.

The length of each Volume differs as a function of the subject matter. Volume I, “Drainage Systems” is a 158 page book, whereas Volume II, “The Trumpet Mute” is 441 pages. Subjects that have fewer patents, such as “Cybernetics and Ergonomics”, will obviously be shorter, whereas those with numerous patents, such as “The Trumpet Mouthpiece”, will be much longer.

Musicologists, collectors, organologists, instrument makers, pedagogues, and performers have already begun to acquire this large collection of brass instrument technology.

 

R. DALE OLSON

Holding and Master’s Degrees in Trumpet Performance (University of North Texas), and Experimental Psychology (California State University, Fullerton), R. Dale Olson brings a new level of expertise to the fields of brass instrument acoustics, design, construction, history, and performance. In 2007, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Texas.

Over a period in excess of sixty years, Olson has been co-researcher in brass instrument acoustics and design with Dr. Robert W. Young (then President of the Acoustical Society of America), acoustician William T. Cardwell, Jr., and instrument maker Zigmant J. Kanstul.

He has delivered lectures at numerous Universities and over ten presentations at International Trumpet Guild Conferences.

Although now retired from performance, Olson performed professionally on trumpet for over 60 years in all genres.

Olson was Director of Research for the firm, F.E. Olds and Son, Inc. for nearly a decade, and later consulted on instrument design and testing for firms such as Besson and Kanstul.

His writings are examples of in-depth, deeply researched, precise works that expand the boundaries of the subjects at hand, and are not simplistic restatements of previous authors. Olson’s works typically carry large numbers of references, indices, and appendices to assist in future scholarly investigations.

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