"The Tonette debuted in 1938 and within a few months it had won the endorsement of America's leading music educators. Designed as a pre-band instrument, the Tonette was unbreakable, chromatic, and tunable. Originally priced at only $1.00, it created a new appreciation and enthusiasm for music that swept the country. The Tonette's pleasant flute-like tone immediately caught the imagination of leading radio and motion picture entertainers of the day, who used it for special novelty effects. By 1941 over half of the grammar schools in the United States had adopted the Tonette as standard equipment. The little Tonette even served in World War II where the armed services found it to be an entertaining way for idle troops to pass the time. Still used by many schools today, the Tonette has a long history of introducing whole families to the joys of music." (from http://www.binaryarts.com/01d_tonette.htm, which is no longer a working URL). More information about tonettes is available.