Inventions in Everything: A Blazing Trumpet Performance

It's that time of year again, or would be in any other year, when you might have attending your child's school band concert on your social calendar. All those long hours of practice you've had to endure listening to since school started will soon culminate in an musical experience that, for all its charms, will soon be quickly, if not also blissfully, forgotten by all.

Truth be told, the same problem often plagues highly talented professional musicians. It is often not enough in today's world to stand out solely on the merits of a skilled performance. That's particularly true for those musicians whose instruments of choice are the same as those used in children's band concerts.

Musicians who want their performance to stand out have to find a way of turning the proverbial knob up to eleven, which is what inventor Pat Vidas set out to achieve for trumpet players everywhere in U.S. Patent 4,247,283, which describes a Musical Instrument Adapted to Emit a Controlled Flame for the purpose of "enhancing" their performance. Here's how Vidas describes the benefits of using fire to make a musical performance more memorable.

As can be ascertained, many performances by musicians or artists are accompanied by special effects in order to further enhance the quality of the presentation and to entertain the audience. There are many modern groups who employ substantial visual and sound effects in conjunction with their performances and have gained widespread popularity based on the utilization of such additional effects together with the musical format.

In view of such considerations, the applicant herein has conceived of a trumpet which will emit a flame out of the bell of the trumpet whereby the flame is safely controlled by the musician. The apparatus offers a novel and sensational visual effect to an audience when the instrument is being played by a skilled practitioner. In terms of appreciation and audience reaction, the instrument creates aunique visual effect. The nature of the instrument is such that the trumpet can be played at the same time the flame is being emitted. The length and duration of the flame are completely under control of the musician, who therefore based on the composition being played, can control the flame according to the music.

Vidas' invention has been around since 1979, and believe it or not, still commands attention at live performances, such as trumpeter Folkert-Hans Tolsma demonstrates in the following 37 second long video from 2014.

And that's how you elevate a live trumpeting performance to the memorability of street juggling.

Inventions in Everything: Some Musical Selections from the Archives