Waterphone instrument makes appearance on Storage Wars

A recent episode of A&E’s Storage Wars television show featured a show participant acquiring a strange musical instrument known as a Waterphone. While the instrument itself is not familiar to most, chances are you’ve heard this instrument in any number of Hollywood horror movies, usually right before something really, really scary happens.


On the show, a musical instrument expert explained that the Waterphone was invented and patented by a man named Richard Waters.  Interestingly enough, Waters’ Waterphone makes use of water (as in H2O water) in producing its chilling sounds.  Crazy, eh?

US Patent #3896696 discloses Waters’ invention, “Tonal Percussive Musical Instrument,” as a “musical instrument related to percussive and string instruments. It has a resonator or echo chamber with an upright neck or opening for sound. Metal rods of different tones radiate from the resonator and are played by mallets, bows, or hands. The resonator contains water, providing unusual tones and an echo effect.”


On his website dedicated to the Waterphone, inventor Richard Waters voices his frustration with knock-off Waterphones being produced abroad. Not a surprising development, given that his 20 year patent has expired. Waters (possibly correctly) notes that these imitations should not be called “Waterphones.”  But that’s a matter for another post.

You can purchase an authentic hand-made Waterphone starting at $1,000 from Waters’ website.

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  1. [...] I was introduced to the Waterphone via the show “Storage Wars” then found it on “small entity“. [...]

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