Harmonograph Related US Patents

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Tracing the History of Harmonograph Patents


A historical overview of the Harmonograph would not be complete without taking a broad look at some of the more interesting Harmonograph related patents registered with the United States Trademark and Patent Office. Researching Harmonograph related patent documents is a fairly straightforward because the rules governing the issuance of patents requires that applicants conduct a thorough search of all previously issued patents to insure that they are not infringing on the rights of an earlier registered patent. United States Patents must contain references to these previously issued patents which are revealed during the patent search process. By researching these patent references, one can get an idea of the evolution of any patented object including pendulum drawing devices.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Rules

Copyrights are administered by the Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress. Copyright law (17 U.S.C. § 105) states that all materials created by the United States government are in the public domain.

Patents are published as part of the terms of granting a patent to the inventor. Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e). An inventor’s right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling their invention throughout the United States, or importing the invention into the United States for a limited time is not compromised by the publication of the description of the invention.

If you wish to incorporate any proprietary features found in a previously patented or copyrighted product into your design; you must do so legally and in a way that does not infringe on the legal rights of the patent or copyright holder.


List of Harmonograph Related Patents
Registered with the
United States Patent and Trademark Office
USPO NumberInventor(s) NameDate of PatentInvention Name


H. Pearce

Sept. 15, 1908



G. E. Worthington

Aug. 2, 1932

Pendulum Toy


G. L. Christie

Aug. 11, 1964

Pendulum Drawing Device


G. Everett

June 13, 1967

Pendulum Toy


E. J. Lias

May 28,1968

Pendulum Toy


I. Moscovich

Oct. 21, 1969



A. Arber

Feb. 10, 1970

Pendulum Actuated

 Drawing Instrument


G. W. Mills

Feb. 24, 1970



T. E. Wolf

July 21, 1970

Coin-operated Harmonograph


Miron Padowicz

July 6, 1971

Apparatus for Tracing Random Geometrical Figures


R. L. Sandifer

Aug. 31, 1976

Pendulum Toy


T. E. Truitt

Jan. 10, 1978

Pendulum Device


M. A. Cosman

July 31, 1979

Pendulum Drawing Machine


G. Cass

Apr. 29, 1980



R. J. Steward


Apr. 29, 1980

Amusement Device for Tracing Geometrical Figures


D. H. Burkholder

D. M. Bonsness

Nov. 3, 1987

Pendulum Design Machine


W. A. Woods

May 29, 1990

Pendulum Mounted Airbrush



The Term "Harmonograph"


HARMONO-  late 14c., from O.Fr. armonie, from L. harmonia, from Gk. harmonia "agreement, concord of sounds," lit. "means of joining," related to harmos "joint, shoulder," from PIE *ar-ti-, from *ar- "to fit together." Musical sense is oldest in Eng.; that of "agreement of feeling, concord" is from 1580s.

-GRAPH c.1600, "traced" (implied in graphical), from L. graphicus "picturesque," from Gk. graphikos "of or for writing, belonging to drawing, picturesque," from graphe "writing, drawing," from graphein "to write". Meaning "of or pertaining to drawing" is from 1756; that of "vivid" is from 1660s, on the notion of words that produce the effect of a picture.

Popular Usage:

When this Patent was applied for, there was no common term used to define pendulum drawing devices and Pendulograph was one of several popular names then in use. Other inventors sometimes created unique nomenclature or applied their own name's to these devices until around 1951 when the term Harmonograph became somewhat standardized. This was likely due, in part, to the use of the term “Harmonograph” by Cundy and Rollett in their popular book Mathematical Models; which is now, unfortunately, out of print.

The very first Harmonograph related and oft cited patent found by the author is for a "Pendulograph" patented in 1908. This patent offered specific design improvements over other pendulum drawing toys then in use, and today we would call this type of Harmonograph a Lissajous Figure Drawing Machine.

Click on the images below to view the entire patent -