First International Workshop on the History of Speech Communication Research (HSCR 2015)

Dresden, Germany
September 4-5, 2015

Kratzenstein’s Vowel Resonators – Reflections on a Revival

Christian Korpiun

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Introduction. Most commonly, Kratzenstein’s phonetic works are discovered by way of the widespread pattern drawings of his resonators in monographs and essays. They are usually accompanied by terse explanations of the following kind: ‘In 1781, Christian Kratzenstein, a German scientist, was awarded a prize at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts for his presentation of five resonators that served to produce the five vowels a, e, i, o and u. Shortly afterwards, Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed a speech machine which was able to produce syllables.’ This is often followed by the mention of Charles Wheatstone, who reportedly experimented with a reproduction of Kempelen’s machine in the first half of the 19th century. These are, in short, the few facts that are commonly disseminated about Kratzenstein and his vowel resonators.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Korpiun, Christian (2015): "Kratzenstein’s vowel resonators – reflections on a revival", In HSCR-2015, 52-59.