More Inventronics' History

Dr. Albert E. Sanderson incorporated Inventronics in 1972, Al was the head of the Electronics Design Center at Harvard University as well as a professor teaching Physics and Electronic courses at Harvard. The Electronics Design Center was getting phased out and Al was going into consulting with the idea of creating products, patenting them and then licensing out the patent rights.

One of the first projects was studying piano strings as this was a topic that had intrigued Al ever since his grand piano was delivered years before. Al played the piano and was curious about the physics of piano strings and creating an electronic tuner that could assist tuning.

Al first tried to design a mathematically correct tuning and discovered it sounded horrible, this was the beginning of Inventronics developing a large piano tuning knowledge. Al signed up to take tuning lessons from Bill Garlick at North Bennet Street School in Boston. After learning to tune aurally, Al had a better understanding of the job and started again to design a tuning instrument, experimenting on a variety of piano tunings for the music professors at Harvard University. After a lot of experimentation, a method of measuring the inharmonicity and creating a tuning was developed.

The first instrument, Musicalibrator, was taken to Tuners Supply in Somerville, the owner renamed the invention and decided to make 100 Sight-O-Tuners to see if tuners liked them. Piano Tuners loved them and the product was redesigned for production and the start of a tumultuous relationship began. Al started going to PTG conventions to promote the new invention, at first the reception was very cold. As the years rolled by some technicians started to warm up to the SOT and tell other technicians that this was a great product. Unfortunately at this point in time, Tuners Supply decided to change the terms of the contract and thus the beginning of the law suits between Inventronics and Tuners Supply.

After two years of zero progress on the lawsuit with Tuners Supply, Al decided to redesign the SOT and create the Sanderson Accu-Tuner. Thus was the transition from Inventor to manufacturer. Then the promoting of the Accu-Tuner began and travels around the country looking for deposits on a new idea, computerize the piano tuning instrument and sell the product for $950. Back in 1981 $950 was enough money to make a lot of technicians laugh out loud. As Al went to more conventions he eventually had around one hundred deposits and with the help of Henry Szmyt and Paul Sanderson production of the Accu-Tuner began.

After six months, the first twelve Accu-Tuners rolled out the door and the lessons learned from the first twelve were incorporated into the production of the next twenty-five. A year later, thirty-seven had been produced and a lot of programming changes and circuit revisions allowed Inventronics to produce the best tuning instrument available.