What’s in our Collections? An Autoharp!

In our collections we have a Germania brand Autoharp (aka Zither) that belonged to Maurice and Gladyce Henderson. It was purchased and played by their family.
Autoharps were first patented in 1882 by a German immigrant in Philadelphia. These instruments use a series of bars individually configured to mute the strings not being used. The term autoharp was the brand name of the Oscar Schmidt company but has become the generic designation, much like Kleenex.
The standard autoharp – such as this one – has 32 strings laid out in rows.   It is typically tuned in A, D, G, and C.