Henry and Casio Keyboards, a Bit of History
In honour of Classic's 40th anniversary, I've been looking back at some history and came across something I thought was interesting. I remember, back when I was in public school, Casio coming out with this keyboard which used colours associated with keys to teach people how to play the piano. Later on these keyboards started giving you feedback whether you played the right notes. I thought it was a neat idea, so did a lot of other people, and Casio made a lot of money on that product. Interesting this is, Henry is the one who invented the feed back system.
Henry has always been ahead of the curve in engineering design, he was one of the first to build a microprocessor based combination action, and MIDI has been fully integrated in the organ systems for over 20 years. Now, we are able to access and update your organ from our office over the internet.
One day, back when I first started working here, Attila pointed out a small console sitting in a corner. It was the prototype that Henry built for a keyboard that displayed lights to show you which chord to play. When you pressed the correct keys, it would then tell you the next chord.
In the late 1970's Henry got a patent for this keyboard and then tried selling the rights. Ahlborn was interested but the patent lawyers said Ahlborn's offer wasn't sufficient, that this idea was worth millions. Casio was interested, but instead of paying for the rights to Henry's idea, they just started using it. Of course Henry objected. Casio's response was basically "Sue us.". Henry's lawyer said yes, Henry could sue Casio, but it would cost a lot of money, which Henry didn't have. Once other companies realised Casio wasn't being sued for patent infringement, they started building the feedback system too. A lot of people made money off of that design, unfortunately Henry wasn't one of them.
Henry still has all the paper work, and that little keyboard is still sitting on a shelf a the back of the shop. I wonder how much Henry would get if they finally paid.