“An American instrument of American invention.”
The Autoharp is one of the few musical instruments that can claim to be truly American in origin.
Invented in 1881 and patented in 1882, the Autoharp has had a remarkable hundred-year history. After being proclaimed “the nation’s favorite musical instrument” and then nearly fading into obscurity, the Autoharp has taken its manufactures on an endless roller coaster of ups and downs. As a nineteenth-century parlor room favorite, it was finally replaced in popularity by the phonograph. The Autoharp did not die. It retreated to the mountains where it underwent a metamorphosis from a parlor instrument to a folk instrument. From there it came out into our schools to become a classroom feature and finally has emerged as a popular instrument for the serious musician.