6. July 2017 - Newsletter Pantheon Steel (2017)
In the spirit of progressing our art form, and strengthening its culture of openness,
I have dedicated my U.S patent US8455745 B2 to the public.
In doing so, I proudly take inspiration in the profound generosity demonstrated by my friend, and gifted maker Colin Foulke, who shared his novel shell hydroforming method with the world.
I’m taking his lead, and offering our own shell forming technique (the Rolling Method) to anyone interested in trying it. Whoever wishes to explore our method, may now do so with no concern of legal threat or intimidation. The dedication of our patent equals zero fear for artisans attempting its possibilities.
I believe my former partner, the late Jim Dusin (designer of the first roll machine, and co-designer of its method), would have been proud of this decision. We never sought to exploit our invention by licensing it, nor did we seek to prevent anyone from pursuing techniques inspired by it.
At the time of our method’s invention, we did feel acquiring a patent was a prudent business decision, but we’ve learned they can also be abused as an offensive weapon. Rather than see our own patent become a tool of intimidation, we choose to release it, and go forth with an open hand and open heart.
In the past, we have pursued other means of supporting makers on their quest. Our first contribution was the Makers‘ Section of our webstore, launched in 2011. In its heyday, it supplied tuning rings, tuning apparatuses, air and hand hammers, hammer heads, air regulated foot pedals, LazyDu turning tables, precut steel discs, formed shells, shell glue, and ultimately, the industry-changing Linotune tuning software.
We provided this service at the expense of focusing on our own pursuits, knowing, and indeed hoping, other makers would ‚take up the hammer‘ and help grow our industry. We knew it was impossible and illogical to think we should be one of only two makers in the world.
We need more handpans in the world. Every one is a gift to those who play and hear it, whether it is called a handpan, or pantam, or cupola, or sound sculpture.
Handpans change lives-I’ve witnessed their power to do so many times. Limiting, or tightly controlling, their spread would be an unconscionable offense.
The tighter you hold on to something the quicker you will lose it. So we choose to let go. Instead of the pause button, we reach for fast forward.
And here we are today, moving forward, fast. I can hardly believe that as I write today, there are almost 150 makers worldwide, and that puts a smile on my face. This is exactly what I envisioned.
The art of tuning is just that, art. It cannot easily be taught, learned, or mechanically imitated.
But what can be automated is the physical fabrication of these instruments‘ basic form. Our rolling process is now one of the few proven methods of making a steel canvas on which tuners practice their art. I am honored to share it, just as Colin shared his, with the world.
I fervently believe: more good comes from giving than keeping. Perhaps an organization of builders who share this sentiment should form…
Thank you, handpan community, for what you’ve given me, my family, and my team. We are blessed and we pray blessings upon all of you.
Owner and founder, Pantheon Steel