Friday, August 21, 2020

The Amazing Benjamin Franklin …

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General of the US? A far cry from what we are putting up with right now., but that's just one of his many ventures. Another fascinating fact about Benjamin Franklin is that of all his inventions the one he was most proud of was his creation of the glass armonica, a musical instrument.

Franklin was fascinated with the  sound that children produced when playing with  water filled glasses and he set to work applying the principles of wet fingers on glass to his own musical  creation. Working with a glassblower in London, Franklin made a few dozen glass bowls, tuned to notes by their varying size and fitted one inside the next with a cork. A hole was put through the center of the glass bowls and an iron rod ran through the holes and attached to a wheel which was turned by a foot pedal. Moistened fingers touched to the edge of the spinning glasses produced the musical sounds. 

The glass armonica was one of the most celebrated instruments of the 18th century. Later composers such as Beethoven, Donizetti and Mozart would write music for the armonica and it seemed destined for permanence. However, by the 1820's it was nearly a forgotten instrument.

Rumors were spread about the armonica being a lethal weapon when a child died during a performance. Then word got about that the instrument caused ill effects and that the high pitched, mystical tones invoked the spirits of the dead and had magical powers that drove listeners mad. No proof was ever given to these claims but the damage was done.

Franklin ignored it all and continued to play the instrument until the end of his life, but the armonica's popularity never returned to what it had been when first introduced.

My friend Jan sent this to me:  ENJOY


Blogger Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

From my friend Jan:

Well I learned something new today! How great is that?????
And Ben Franklin is one of my favorite people. But i did not know about an armonica.
sooooo, i googled it and it is amazing! I love its sound!

9:52 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

As I was reading this I was wondering if there were any of them left. Good to know there is. Enjoyed the video a lot.
Yep, we need someone like him in charge today. Can't believe we are letting someone dismantle the P.O. My COPD medicines are out there somewhere.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Never heard of it, but now I have.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Wonderful. I hadn’t heard about it. I will share this video with a friend too.

9:16 AM  

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