Earl Linrud Thompson Fiberglass Harp c. 1958
According to harpist Patricia Jaeger, she and Mildred Dilling were Mr Thompson's best customers, commissioning batches of these harps for their students. This model was used by Mildred Dilling in her limousine to warm up before performances.
In the mid 1950's Ruth Linrud Thompson jokingly asked her son, who had studied engineering, drafting and forestry at the University of Washington, if he would make her a new and improved harp. He put his skills to use designing and crafting a durable harp using a sand-cast aluminum frame, a fiberglass soundbox, carefully designed blades for sharping levers, and replaced gut strings with nylon filament by the yard. (Chronicling America: Star Magazine, Wash. D.C., March 16, 1958.)
Earl Linrud Thompson made two models of fiberglass harp: this model and a small travel model that was sold through the Marshall Fields holiday toy catalog. Harpers of the era bought these as travel harps, because they were lightweight, durable, and fit in airplane overhead bins. They had 22 strings, no levers, weighed four pounds, and had fiberglass bodies sprayed in gold automotive paint, made by a boat building company in Ohio. (oral history via Patricia Jaeger)
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Right, image of article from Chronicling America: Star Magazine, Wash. DC, March 16, 1958) Earl Linrud Thompson Fiberglass Harp