The ‘Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones’ (1931), The ‘Polytone Organ’ (1934) & The ‘Singing Keyboard’ (1936). A. Lesti & F. Sammis. USA, 1934


The "Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones" (1931)

The “Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones” (1931)

Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones (1931)

The “Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones” was created and developed by A. Lesti and F. Sammis in the USA during 1931.The Radio Organ used a similar technique as the Celluphone and variants – rotating  photo-electric glass discs printed with wave-forms interrupting a light beam at different frequencies produced varied pitches and timbres from a vacuum tube oscillator; the principle was improved in the “Polytone”.

The Polytone Organ (1934)

A. Lesti and F. Sammis’s development of the Radio Organ of a Trillion Tones was christened the ‘The Polytone Organ’, this instrument was a three keyboard manual organ using the same sound production system as the ‘Radio Organ’ – rotating photo-electrical tone-wheel sound generation. The instrument was completed in 1934 and was one of the first multi-timbral instruments.

The Singing Keyboard (1936)

F. Sammis invented the “singing Keyboard” in 1936, a precursor of modern samplers, the instrument played electro-optical recordings of audio waves stored on strips of 35mm film which were triggered and pitched when the player pressed a key. More recent instruments such as the Mellotron and Chamberlin use a similar technology of triggered and pitched magnetic tape recordings.


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