In 1952 James How, a violin and viola student with a diploma in engineering, fell in love with the sound of the zither after watching the film The Third Man and took to learning the 32-string instrument.

After hours of playing, James ran out of zither strings and using his knowledge of acoustics, harmonics, engineering design and construction he designed himself a winding machine. With the aid of two of the family turning handles each end of his machine, after five minutes of frantic exhaustion one Zither string was produced.

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