THE INVENTION OF THE TUNING FORK: The tuning fork was invented in 1711 by John Shore, trumpeter and lutenist to H. Purcell and G.F. Handel in London. A picture of Handel's own tuning fork, probably the oldest tuning fork in existence, is presented here for the first time. There are a number of anecdotes connected with the inventor of the tuning fork, using plays on words involving the name Shore, and mixing up pitch-pipe and pitchfork. Some of these are related here. The tuning fork as a musical instrument soon became a success throughout Europe.
THE PHYSICS OF THE TUNING FORK: The German physicist E. F. F. Chladni in Wittenberg around 1800 was the first to systematically investigate the mode of vibration of the tuning fork with its nodal points. Besides this, he and others tried to construct a complete musical instrument based on sets of tuning forks, which, however, were not widely accepted. J. H. Scheibler in Germany in 1834 presented a set of 54 tuning forks covering the range from 220 Hz to 440 Hz, at intervals of 4 Hz. J. Lissajous in Paris constructed a very elaborate tuning fork with a resonance box, which was intended to represent the international standard of the musical note A with 435 vibrations per second, but this remained controversial. K. R. Koenig, a German physicist living in Paris, invented a tuning fork which was kept in continuous vibration by a clockwork.