February 19, 2004

"Of all my inventions, the glass armonica has given me the greatest personal satisfaction." - Ben Franklin
  • And what a beautiful eccentric axe it is. The soundtrack of horror, sci-fi, and spiritualism, as well as Madame Blavatsky's favourite back-scratcher and Gurdjieff's preferred implement for the inhalation of vintage armagnac.
  • Wow. Without ever hearing of Benjamin Franklin's, I tried to invent exactly this when I was about 10 (I drew it, but made no attempts at constuction). I don't know if that makes me seem bright, or just dumb for not knowing it had already been done.
  • The sound is vaguely reminiscent of a theremin. One of these days (or years) I'm going to build one--there are schematics floating around on the web, and the components cost around $100. Weird instruments are neat.
  • Great Find, Fish! Franklin's Armonica sounds like chamber music composed and played by spirits of the dead. Years ago, during the summertime a man in period dress would play it in Franklin's Court (part of the NPS Independence Hall Compound in Philly) for tourists waiting in line to go to the underground Franklin Museum, and if you got there right at dusk, and squinted, it looked like ol' Ben himself...