Water-Hammer Hydraulophone


  1. Invention title: Water-Hammer Hydraulophone.
    This is a new invention related to the original hydraulophone invention. The water-hammer hydraulophone is a percussion instrument making sound from water, and is played like a xylophone, except the player makes direct physical contact with water.
  2. Summary explanation -- how it works:
    The water-hammer hydraulophone consists of a series of welded stainless steel pipes which contain water, and which are specially designed to allow the water to resonate at different pitches. The instrument can be made out of other materials like bronze or brass to suit sculptural or artistic needs. The fully functional working prototype pictured in the above video has a series of 12 pipes in a row, tuned to a natural musical scale, notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, a, b, c, d, and e, but just about any scale is possible. In other protoypes we have installed valves to change the scale while playing, or installed a second row of pipes for all the sharps and flats. The lowest note (longest pipe) is on the left side, and the highest note (shortest pipe) is on the right side. There a very small water pump to simply keep the water level in all 12 pipes topped up while the player plays the top surface of the pipes, in contact with the water to make it resonate.

    With hydraulophones (including the waterhammer hydraulophone), for the first time in human history, water has a "voice". Listen to the above video to hear what it sounds like.

  3. Example commercial applications: There is already a well-established market for hydraulophones. There are two licensees of S. Mann's earlier hydraulophone inventions: The waterhammer hydraulophone is another variation of the hydraulophone instrument that is designed to appeal to a different kind of person than the traditional hydraulophone. Whereas the traditional hydraulophone is basically an underwater pipe organ, the waterhammer hydraulophone is more like a piano or guitar in its percussive sound, which appeals to people who like rhythm and tempo and percussion. Moreover, the water hammmer hydraulophone has no fine whistle or fipple mechanisms which might otherwise become clogged, so it can go longer between cleaning than the regular hydraulophone. Thus the "waterhammer" (or simply the "hammer" as it is sometimes known) brings forward new markets in the space of the hydraulophone marketplace.
  4. Links to publications associated with the invention: Water-hammer hydraulophone. Related work can be seen with other types of hydraulophones we have invented, here.
  5. Patent applications filed or issued: A number of patents are pending, or issued, such as: Musical instrument based on water-hammer, hydraulophonic, or hydraulidiophonic percussion, US8017858, US7,551,161, CA2499784, CA2517501 issued, and numerous others pending.

    Due to the high market demand for hydraulophones in general, a large number of infringing products began being installed throughout the world. Patent infringement has been quickly and successfully defended against: S. Mann. ats. Waterplay Solutions Corp., Statement of Claim issued in a United States court. Infringer complied by ceasing the sale of infringing products before the matter went to trial in court. Specifically, with regards to waterhammer hydraulophones, to the best of our knowledge, no infingement has yet occurred for the waterhammer variety of hydraulophones.

  6. Prototypes constructed: Prototypes have been constructed but additional work is required regarding high volume manufacture and other improvements.
  7. This invention is jointly developed by S. Mann and Ryan Janzen, who would be equal partners in commercialization efforts. The water-hammer hydraulophone invention can be extended and deepened, if desired, by including a few other developers who are already skilled in the art of working on this instrument.

    Additional musical instrument inventions are the andantephone, and hyperacoustic instruments.

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