1929–30 Theremin

1929–30 Theremin

Who Commissioned This Instrument?

Unverified, possibly RCA.

Who Owned This Instrument?

Unknown

Where is This Instrument Now?

This theremin is owned by Gene Segal of Wavefront Technologies.

What Do We Know About This Instrument?

Wood chassis panel, breadboard style. Mounted horizontally, resonance coils mounted to panel, like RCA. (Unlike RCA, all other components are mounted and wired to same panel). Integrated power supply and audio stages.

Why is it Special?

This is the most intact, and the only unmodified currently known surviving Lev-built theremin that is in proper working order with all of its original parts, apart from tubes.

The early date of construction, combined with certain construction details make it a likely candidate to be one of the two prototypes that Lev made for RCA ca. May 1929. It is also possible that this instrument is one of the ten Victor Theremins that performed at Carnegie Hall in 1930 (albeit with custom-built internals).

Supporting the RCA prototype supposition, is that Lev's hand-written designations are more carefully and completely applied than his marks on other surviving instruments. Furthermore, this theremin is housed in a professionally made, near duplicate of the factory-built RCA cabinet (which was made for RCA by Jamestown Mantel Co.), and has numerous details that approximately match the factory-built cabinets. These and additional details further support the theory that this theremin is one of the two RCA prototypes.

Tube Complement:

Schematic

Not currently available

Photos