Bill Cardwell 1917-2012
William T. “Bill” Cardwell was born on May 27, 1917 and obtained his Bachelor/Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering from California Institute of Technology in 1939. He was employed by Standard/Chevron Oil Company as a chemical engineer, research scientist and patent advisor until his retirement in 1981. In addition to his many patents related to oil drilling, he patented the invention of a “Double Bipolar Photosculpture Machine.” This machine allows you to carve (out of wood) a 3 dimensional version of a persons’ head from a 2 dimensional photograph which was way ahead of its time back in 1965! Bill was an active and enthusiastic trumpet player, and played in concert bands, dance bands and dixieland groups in a number of venues.
Bill began serious acoustic studies of the trumpet in 1959, and he intensified his efforts in 1965 following a detached retina which forced him to give up playing the trumpet. His objective was to make trumpets that played and responded better in the upper register and that were better in tune. His first significant contribution to the art was to calculate the required bell stem parameters to match a particular mouthpiece and leadpipe in order to properly tune the lower modes of the instrument to align with the upper modes.
By 1966, he had designed his high sopranino F trumpet, which was announced to the Acoustic Society of America (ASA). He chose the high-F trumpet for his first work because at that time, the piccolo trumpet was not yet in widespread use for the Brandenburg, and the F trumpet was still the instrument of choice. “…I thought that the trumpeters in the most need of help were the tortured souls who played Bach’s Brandenburg Concert No. 2 in F.”
In 1970 he was granted a patent on his design method.
He was also the first to derive a formula to quantify the tuning effect of a mouthpiece, or mouthpiece/leadpipe combination from acoustic measurements. Bill published and presented numerous articles to the Acoustic Society of America, collaborated with many notable acousticians, and has made numerous presentations at International Trumpet Guild conferences:
- 1966 Working Theory of Air Column Design
- 1968 Trumpet Intonation Improvement with Multiple Helmholtz Termination
- 1973 Trumpet Intonation Acoustics
- 1973 The Tuning Effect of the Mouthpiece and Leaderpipe
- 1976 Trumpet Acoustics – Correcting Intonation Faults
- 2016 International Trumpet Guild Journal – The Legacy of William T. Cardwell, Jr.
When asked many years ago which accomplishment has been the most important, his quick reply was “marrying Bette”, his wife of 66 years!
Bill consulted with Gary Bast and K.O. Skinsnes since the mid 1990’s.
(See how we test)
Bill passed away on May 17, 2012, and is truly missed.