Here's an odd artifact from the Fab Four days…you could use it to hum all your favorite Beatles tunes. Yes, you put it into your mouth, and then…hum!
Manufactured by the Louis F. Dow Company and licensed by NEMS, a 'hummer' was a musical instrument. The Hummer was an 11" x ¾" cardboard tube, which sported a lithographed picture of The Beatles and facsimile signatures. Also printed on the tube was "original idea by Merrimaker, N. Y." The mouthpiece that produced the musical tone had flared end pieces, which came in four colors: red (some say the rarest), blue, yellow, and white. The idea was that you hummed into it, and the perfect notes from the song would fill the air.
Merrimaker Corp. gave Dow the idea for the piece, which Dow proceeded to manufacture. In exchange for the concept, Dow conferred to Merrimaker Corp. on June 5, 1964, rights to "sell for resale only and will not permit anyone else to sell in the USA the product "Hum-Along" Beatle horn or party favor instrument." Dow then added they would retain the rights to sell this item to "advertising specialty buyers & Beatles performance promoters or shows & to other resale outlets except for chain stores that Merrimaker will cover plus their regular jobbers throughout the USA." From Dow to Merrimaker, this sublicense covered 1964 with "an option for one year's renewal." That was Dow's 'thanks for the idea' concessions!
The poster that advertised the Hummer was 20" x 11¼" and was also manufactured by Louis F. Dow. One poster came with each retail sales box of hummers. The upper section of the poster had The Beatles pictured in a doorway, and information about the Hummer printed on the lower part. Also provided for retailers was an in-store white cardboard display box with a blueprint that measured 12" x 9" x 5" and held about 80 hummers. The top of the display box was die-cut, so you could fold it out to stand it up at the back of the box. The box read: "Brand New! Exclusive! Get Your Official BEATLE HUMMER Great Fun! Start Your Own Beatle Combo! Picture Direct From London.”
The Merrimaker Corporation (DOS ID: 24082) was incorporated on May 7, 1927, in New York. Their business is recorded as "DOMESTIC BUSINESS CORPORATION."