Rudolph Koenig

   (Karl) Rudolph Koenig was born in 1832 in the former East Prussian town of Königsburg. After study at the University of Königsberg (which awarded him an honorary Ph.D. in 1868), he was apprenticed in 1851 to the Parisian violin-maker, Vuillaume. In this work he showed an unusual aptitude for mechanical work, and an excellent musical ear. In 1858 he went into business for himself as the designer and maker of acoustical apparatus.
     For the next forty three years, until his death in 1901, Koenig produced a series of instruments for the production and analysis of sound. These were manufactured and tested in his suite of rooms in an apartment house on the Isle Ste. Louis in the Seine River in Paris, a location chosen for its quietness. Dayton C. Miller, who visited Koenig in 1896 and 1900, noted that Koenig, who never married, lived in the small front room of his apartment, which was also his office and stock room. The building and testing of instruments was done in the back rooms of the apartment by Koenig and a few assistants. No piece of apparatus was sold unless it was thoroughly tested, and perhaps used in an ongoing experiment, by Koenig himself. Koenig issued his first catalogue in 1859. The 1889 catalogue illustrated most of his apparatus, along with their prices.
   Koenig is probably best known for the manometric flame, the device used to make visible the wave-shapes of sounds, which he invented in 1862. He invented and manufactured apparatus for producing standard frequencies, such as tone barstuning forks, and Helmholtz resonators. His vibration microscope was used to compare the frequency of an unknown fork to a fork of known frequency. He made and sold large numbers of organ pipes, and also supplied a few very beautiful instruments for Fourier analysis, and Fourier synthesis.

REFERENCES: Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "The Acoustical Apparatus of Rudolph Koenig", Phys. Teach., 30, 518-524 (1992)

                         Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "The Rotating Mirror", Phys. Teach., 19, 253-254 (1981)

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