Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1986, Volume 1, p. 591
[Please note the following citation contains an incorrect place and date of birth, Deagan was actually born in Hector, N.Y. in 1853.]
Deagan. Firm of instrument makers. John C. Deagan (b England, 1852, d Hermosa Beach, CA, 1932) established in 1880 the J.C. Deagan Musical Bells Co. of St. Louis, which moved to San Francisco in 1891 (becoming J.C. Deagan & Co. in 1895) and then to Chicago in 1897. He had some knowledge of acoustics, and his firms instruments were manufactured to a high degree of precision he was responsible for the recognition of a = 440 as standard pitch. The first instrument manufactured by his firm was an orchestral glockenspiel that had steel bars tuned according to Hermann von Helmholtzs principles. This was followed by cathedral chimes (1886), and tuned sleigh bells (1893). The firms range of products was gradually expanded , mostly by the addition of novelty instruments, many of which were invented, many of which were invented by Deagan himself; these included shaker chimes, tuned cowbells, tubaphones, tapaphones, and rattles. Later the company made orchestral bells, precision tuning forks and bars, and organ, orchestral, clock, and dinner chimes. By 1910 the Deagan catalogue consisted of 600 items, including 63 models of glockenspiels, 80 xylophones, and 60 sets of chimes; in 1916 the first large, electrically driven, tubular brass church bells were introduced. Two important innovations made by the firm were a vibraphone with aluminum alloy tone bars (1927) and the Celesta-Chime, an electric tower carillon (1937). In 1961 the firm introduced three new marimbas, a concert xylophone, "symphonic" orchestral chimes, a deluxe bell-lyra, and a new glockenspiel. In 1978 Deagan became associated with the Slingerland Drum Co. as a division of C. G. Conn.
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