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The Arthur Gough Pinfold Silent Metronome ( Pinfolds )

The Pinfold Metronome

UK Patent Application Filed: April 1884 - Serial No 371,081
US Patent Granted: March 31st 1891 - Patent No 449,635
Inventor: Mr Arthur Gough Pinfold of Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

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Brief:  Arthur Gough Pinfold

  Born in 1865 in Buckinghamshire to parents George and Elizabeth Pinfold, he was one of four siblings. His father George was a watchmaker and jeweler and had a small business located in Stony Stratford, a constituent town of Milton Keynes. The father was also an accomplished musician, leading and conducting the South Bucks Brass Band for a number of years and encouraged his children to also take up instruments. In 1879, Arthur and his brother George, joined their father in business as partners and relocated to Yorkshire forming A & G Pinfold.
 At the age of 22, Arthur married and the family, including his parents and siblings all lived in and around Mirfield, Cleckheaton in Yorkshire. The business up until 1884 was primarily watchmaking and repairs and fine jewelry manufacture, but Arthur wanting to expand into other area's, was inventive and ambitious, and using his musical background and knowledge constructed a gravity based oscillating pendulum or metronome, that negated the need for springs, escapements and balances and was intended to be portable and sturdy. The UK patent for his invention was filed in April 1884 - UK Patent Number: 12445. The counter-balanced device was an instant hit, and proved so popular that the family established a small factory in Bradford to satisfy demand. For the following 5 years, production increased and sales expanded to a Worldwide audience, with the US Patent having been filed in March 1891 - Patent No: 449,635.
An excerpt from the aforementioned patent and in Arthurs own words : " The improved metronome consisting of a curved or bent frame, weighted at it's lower end and providing with a bearing-surface on the underside of the top thereof by which it can be suspended, and a bar or slide projecting up from the top of such frame and carrying a weight, the position of which can be adjusted in order to regulate the duration of beats or oscillations of the instrument substantially as specified."
The metronome was silent, reliable and operated without the use of delicate parts and springs etc, not only that, it cost a quarter of the price of a standard Victorian pyramid style metronome of the same period, making it widely available to everybody.
 At this point in time, and with production at it's peak in around 1892, everything is looking good for the Pinfold family, the fathers pocket watch making and fine jewelry workshop  was still part of the family business, however family disagreements and possibly over-extending themselves to grow the business in Bradford eventually forced the family owned business to declare itself bankrupt and was handed over to the receivers in 1894.


US Patent No: 449,635 - C1891  
US Pinfold Patent 1891

US Pinfold Patent 2 1891


Continued:   Arthur Gough Pinfold

  George Snr, Arthurs father and original founder of A & G Pinfold passed away in 1909 at the age of 69, Arthur continued with his inventive streak, patenting many new inventions and designs over the course of the next 20 odd years. A ring resizer for the jeweler trade, proved particularly popular and around 1920 it enabled Arthur to bring the company out of receivership. His brother, George, deeply affected by the initial closure of the factory in 1894, had moved away from the area, to the South coast, losing a son in 1917 at Mesopotamia during the great war. Likewise Arthur himself, also lost a son Arthur George Valentine Pinfold, lost at Ypres aged 27 and serving with the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
 Sources regarding the Pinfold factory in the 1920's show conflicting reports of the firms location, but would appear to have still been in Bradford and known by the name the ' Metronome Works '. Whether this means metronome production resumed at this point is unclear but we do not think this to be the case although the name would suggest otherwise.

 Arthur Gough Pinfold passed away on the 21st Sept 1940, followed by his wife Arabella the following year in 1941. Arthur was 75. The Pinfold business operated successfully for a relatively short period only, around 15 years, of which the actual 'Pinfold Metronome' production or assembly covered only a 10 or 11 year period, possibly even shorter between 1884 & 1894. This small production window makes the unique Pinfold Silent Patented Gravity Metronome extremely collectable today. Examples that remain with the original box, fully working and in good condition are highly desirable and the simplistic design has meant that longevity and availability today some 130 years after production is still very good. We do not have any idea as to how many actually left the factory during this period but we do know that Arthur and his family would be truly astounded at the price that these collectable objects are fetching today.







 The Pinfold Silent Metronome
US Pinfold Patent 1891
US Pinfold Patent 2 1891

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