Joe Cihla of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Sep 8, 2022

Sure was sorry to hear about the queen. In other news, I spent half the day today trying to track down relatives of this gentleman here, Joe Cihla of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the mid-1950s, Joe and his brother invented the “Speakatar,” shown here, a self-contained guitar with its own microphone and amplifier. Joe and his brother tried marketing the invention to Gibson, but were unable to make a deal. Joe died in 2004 and his wife in 2017, so the trail was pretty cold. I made phone calls, did as much internet research as I could, and came up with nothing. Finally I drove to a house that I believed was Joe’s son’s and knocked on the door. It was him! He welcomed me in and we talked about his dad’s music career. Sadly, the Speakatar was damaged and stripped and no longer exists. But he is going to dig out more photos of his dad with this unique and bizarre invention, so stay tuned! Didn’t make very good time today, but…you know. It happens.