Douglas Raymond Eaton
Doug Eaton (10.7.1929 – 27.5.2013) was born in Nowra NSW in 1929. He went to school in Sydney and Brisbane, before studying Civil Engineering at Sydney University. He graduated in 1951 and worked in the Construction Department of the Commonwealth Public Service for the whole of his career, in most States of Australia before retiring in 1988.
He has been a hobby woodworker since his school days and in 1974 turned his hand to musical instruments initially to satisfy a lifelong ambition to make a violin and in the next few years made four violins and two violas, all successful instruments.
Around 1982 he became interested in folk harps and made his first harp using as a reference a book written by Gildas Jaffrenou and pictures of a McFall Irish harp that he found in Sydney. This harp was a success but raised many questions about design, and further research was obviously necessary. Drawings from Robinson’s Harp Shop were not much help and the best way forward was to design from scratch, initially doing the string calculations by hand and eventually writing a spreadsheet computer program to eliminate the drudgery.
Since retiring in1988 Doug has developed successful designs for a 23 string lap harp, a “full size” 36 string harp, and a more recently, a 46 string cross-strung (chromatic) harp. A total of 136 instruments completed so far also includes one Paraguayan harp, two double strung lap harps and some wire-strung lap harps.