This crazy-looking yet elegant metronome was invented and patented by Arthur Gough PINFOLD (1864-1940). Arthur was one of four children, born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, England. His father was a watchmaker, jeweller and musician and his children would follow on in his footsteps. At some point, the family relocated to Yorkshire, where a watch repair and jewellery business was set up in Cleckheaton.
Arthur began experimenting and eventually came up with the design for an oscillating pendulum or metronome that was gravity based. He put it into production and obtained a UK patent for the design in April 1884 – patent number 12445. His metronome was almost an overnight success. A US patent followed. The metronomes were sold worldwide and Arthur and his family set up a special factory in Bradford to increase production.
The sales of the Pinfold’s metronome boomed because it was very versatile. It could be used on its own stand, on a piano edge, a music-stand or on a musician’s finger! Plus, it required no special or delicate parts, so it was cheaper than the other metronomes available at that time. It was also silent!!! However, the Pinfold family started becoming involved in other inventions and perhaps spread themselves too thin. The company went bankrupt in 1894. And Arthur?… He went into making and selling fancy leather goods.
For further information about this and other rare metronomes, we recommend the book Metronomes and Musical Time.
This Pinfold’s metronome is marked with only PRESTO, ALLEGRO, ANDANTE, ADAGIO. It is crafted in brass and it’s lovely to watch… plus it never seems to stop!
Take a look at the video to see how it works!