A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Æolodion
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ÆOLODION, or ÆOLODICON (also called in Germany Windharmonika), a keyed wind-instrument resembling the harmonium, the tone of which was produced from steel springs. It had a compass of six octaves, and its tone was similar to that of the harmonium. There is some controversy as to its original inventor; most authorities attribute it to J. T. Eschenbach of Hamburg, who is said to have first made it in 1800. Various improvements were subsequently made by other mechanicians, among whom may be named Schmidt of Presburg, Voit of Schweinfurt, Sebastian Müller (1826), and F. Sturm of Suhl (1833). The instrument is now entirely superseded by the harmonium. A modification of the æolodion was the æolsklavier, invented about 1825 by Schortmann of Buttelstädt, in which the reeds or springs which produced the sound were made of wood instead of metal, by which the quality of tone was made softer and sweeter. The instrument appears to have been soon forgotten. A further modification was the æolomelodicon or choraleon, constructed by Brunner at Warsaw, about the year 1825, from the design of Professor Hoffmann in that city. It differed from the æolodion in the fact that brass tubes were affixed to the reeds, much as in the reed-stops of an organ. The instrument was of great power, and was probably intended as a substitute for the organ in small churches, especially in the accompaniment of chorals, whence its second name choraleon. It has taken no permanent place in musical history. In the æolopantalon, invented about the year 1830, by Dlugosz of Warsaw, the æolomelodicon was combined with a pianoforte, so arranged that the player could make use of either instrument separately or both together. A somewhat similar plan has been occasionally tried with the piano and harmonium, but without great success.
[ E. P. ]