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Art Deco Machine Age John Vassos Streamline Harmonica for Hohner, circa 1936 For Sale
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Art Deco Machine Age John Vassos Streamline Harmonica for Hohner, circa 1936

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Art Deco Machine Age John Vassos streamline Harmonica for Hohner, circa 1936 Near Mint, in original box. These are very cool. Great Vassos original patented design. The red and chrome Echo Elite harmonica was made in three sizes and in varying keys. It is a tremolo harmonica, which means that the reeds are tuned slightly off from each other, creating a sound that wavers and oscillates in pitch. The most popular iterations were dual-pitch models with the key of G on one side and C on the other, but some instruments were playable only on a single side. The instrument’s shape was also reminiscent of buses and trains from this time, like General Motors’ Futureliner bus: red with horizontal, parallel chrome lines. Even the case was streamlined and sleek, made from both aluminum and cardboard with the addition of blue. Of the three harmonicas designed by Vassos, the red and chrome Echo Elite achieved the most commercial success. Archival correspondence and patents show that Vassos believed his stylish harmonica designs improved on the historically rectangular model, like that of Hohner’s popular Marine Band, whose design has changed very little over time. Vassos’ use of curved angles with bright and fashionable paint combinations make these playable instruments look like works of art. Shapiro writes that “Vassos was also thinking about ergonomics and the way humans interact with objects.” In his design patents, Vassos states that he believes his ergonomic improvements made the instrument easier to hold, and the curved mouthpiece made it more comfortable for the player’s lips. Of these designs, three patented instruments are known to have been manufactured and sold: the Echo Elite, the Regina, and the Comet. The Regina and the Comet were also marketed as the Echo Elite. Excellent structural condition, some minor wear to box, as pictured..

Details

  • Condition
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 2.75 in. x W 8 in. x D 1.25 in.H 6.99 cm x W 20.32 cm x D 3.18 cm
  • Seller Location
    Dallas, TX
  • Reference Number
    LU945216706751
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About the Seller

5 / 5
Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2012
Typical response time: 1 hour
Located in Dallas, TX
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