Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Ear Inserts

Vibraphones (Audiphones) (1925)

Vibraphone ear inserts were originally called Audiphones in the patent papers filed by their inventor, Charles Fensky.

Charles Fensky was a lawyer in St. Louis, MO. He filed several patents for Vibraphones that had slight differences. However, these Vibraphones appear to be his original Vibraphones.

These original Vibraphones were made of silver. They simply consisted of a hollow sound chamber (the vertical part on the right), and the ear canal extension (bottom left). Later, he added two reeds so they were truly Vibraphones as opposed to Audiphones such as these are.

These Vibraphones measured just over ¾" high by just under ¾" wide and ⅜" in diameter at the thickest part. In spite of being made of silver they were quite light, weighing only a tenth of an oz. (about 4 grams)  for the pair.

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Side view of the Vibraphone showing the oval-shaped sound chamber.

Vibraphones were essentially "quack" devices. It is doubtful that they helped anyone, even those with mild hearing losses.
 

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Front view of the Vibraphone showing the opening where the sound enters (left) and the opening into the ear canal where the sound exits (top).


 

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View of the Vibraphone in the ear.


 

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Vibraphone advertisement from an unknown newspaper likely from around 1925.


 

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Back view of the Vibraphone showing the word "Vibraphone" and below it the word "sterling". These Vibraphones were made of sterling silver.


 

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Front view of the Vibraphone showing the words "Pat. Pend.", short for "patent pending" on the ear canal extension (bottom right).

The patent papers for these Vibraphones were filed on May 2 and October 4, 1923. The patents for these were both issued on October 13, 1925, so these Vibraphones must have been made some time between the latter part of 1923 and the middle of 1925.

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Bottom view of the small Vibraphone box showing the patent numbers. It's interesting that the second patent number has an error in it. Rather than reading patent number 1,555,775 it should read 1,556,775.

Here are the original patent papers for patent numbers  1,556,774 and 1,556,775.

 

 

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The Vibraphones in their original green box. The lid is missing.  The box measures 2" x 1⅜" x ¾" high.

 


 

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