Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hand Cranked Box Organ

May first 2009 marked the completion of a little crank organ, after being under construction for two months. Instructions for building were found on John Smith's web site in England. However for some reason that site seemed to vanish shortly after building the organ. The music rolls are still available from Melvin Wright, another English web site.
It was awkward to move around and find a place to place it while playing, so a stand with wheels followed a month or so later.
The top is hinged so that it can be opened up and you can look down inside and see the working mechanism. The crank operates bellows to pump air and also powers the punched paper roll that distributes the air to the 20 pipes to play the tunes. It works somewhat like a player piano.The last picture is of it being demonstrated at an antique machinery show in Huntsville Utah.
Friends Guy and Westley each videoed it and posted the videos on You Tube.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


A couple weeks ago I completed a Kaleidoscope of my own design configuration. The reason for building it was that I had some high quality front faced mirrors that had been salvaged out of some kind of copy equipment, and they needed something useful to do, rather than just laying around. The rest of the machine was built from some brass drain pipe, and the gears machined from brass valve stems, and the walnut from left over pieces. Sure, it was work, but now all these things have a useful purpose in life.
The interesting thing, was that in reading some history, I found that the Kaleidoscope was invented by David Brewster in 1816, the same year that Robert Stirling invented the hot air engine. (I've built a bunch of hot air engine models) Both men attended the university of Edinburgh in Scotland, they may have known each other. Although the Kaleidoscope is more or less a toy or object of fascination, David went on and did a lot of research and development with optics, and other fields of science. David was the inventor of the Fresnel lens that was used in light houses all over the world. A very respected gentleman.