Armando Lorenzo Dal Molin

1917 - 2003

Armando Dal Molin died of cancer on October 25, 2003 at Wake Robin in Shelburne, VT. He was born June 19, 1917 in Milan, Italy. After moving to the United States in 1946 he lived in New York City, Oyster Bay, New York and Middlebury, Vermont. He was a graduate of Milan Polytechnic Institute with a doctorate in chemical engineering. During his life he was a music engraver, an inventor, a jazz musician, a businessman, a family man and an avid skier.

While a student he became interested in flying and was a member of the Italian National glider team. During World War II he was a pilot with the Italian Air Force, and was later a liaison officer with the United States Army. At the end of the war he was an aide to an American lieutenant who was the chief administrator in small Italian village, a scenario much like that depicted in the book A Bell for Adano.

He had a great love for music. While in college he supported himself by working as a jazz pianist. After the war he followed his interests in both music and engineering and developed a music typewriter. This was adapted from a standard Underwood, and had an extra keyboard that raised the carriage to set the notes on the staff. In 1946 he came to the United States to further develop and market his invention. While exhibiting his Music Writer at the New York World’s Fair of Music he met Elisabeth Kulka who was representing Marks Music in the adjoining booth. Armando and Liese were married in 1949.

The Music Writer was a great success. Intending to manufacture and market the music typewriter, Armando set up a music typing studio to help demonstrate its capabilities. This was so successful that he eventually decided to give up the idea of manufacturing, and instead use the typewriter to engrave music for publication. He learned the process of engraving music through careful study of European manuscripts such as the Peter’s Editions. His business, Music Typographers, engraved music for the major New York music publishing companies. His company engraved hymnals, sheet music, orchestral scores, instruction books, band and choral music, everything from opera to rock and roll.

Later Armando developed computer technology to aid with the spacing of characters and eventually to produce music pages in a completely computer-driven photographic process. The computerized Musicomp made the process of engraving faster, more efficient and more accurate than previous systems. By 1973 his family business was engraving 90% of the music published in the US. His engraving was always of the highest quality, and often won the Paul Revere Award for Graphic Excellence. Eventually he sold the business to Belwin Music and retired to work on developing a program for writing or composing music on personal computers.

Armando loved the outdoors. In his youth he spent summers hiking in the Alps, and later became an enthusiastic skier. When his children were young the family skied as often as they could at various areas in the northeast. In 1987 he joined the 70+ ski club and skied with the club in Italy, Austria, Chile and New Zealand. He continued to ski into his 80's and spent 22 days at the Middlebury Snow Bowl last winter. He also enjoyed tennis and was a passionate fisherman. He loved the rocky coast of Maine and took great joy in summer visits to the island of Vinalhaven. Besides his love of outdoor sports he was also an avid reader of all scientific literature and was happy to relate his original ideas on subjects from physics to biology.

Armando is survived by his wife, Elisabeth Dal Molin, his son Anthony Dal Molin of Portland, Oregon, his daughters, Christina Runcie of Starksboro and her husband James Runcie, and Francesca Dal Molin of London, England, and his grandchildren, Sierra Dal Molin, Cambria Dal Molin, Aria Dal Molin, Austin Dal Molin, Daniel Runcie, Tom Runcie and Julia Runcie, as well as his cousins, Velleda Zippel of Lugano, Switzerland, Dr. Sergio Mangiapan and Luciana Dal Molin of Milan, Italy, Bruno Ottavi of Cassola, Italy and Ermanno Savini of Lavagna, Italy.