Movie Sounds from Queer Machines (Jul, 1932)

Movie Sounds from Queer Machines

When horses clatter down the street on the talkie screen, you can wager that the sound of their hoof-beats has been registered by a machine like that shown above. Arms on the two crank-turned wheels strike against metal brackets. The device is used mainly in comedy work.

Earthquakes must frequently be recorded in the talkies, and of course, nature can’t be depended on to supply these sound effects for the director. On such occasions the huge drum shown above is brought into action. Bowling balls are placed inside the metal drum, which is then revolved by a hand crank.

Student Constructs Loud Speaking Electric Guitar (Jun, 1938)

Student Constructs Loud Speaking Electric Guitar

CARL WISCHMEYER, Yale engineering student, is shown with an electric guitar he constructed. For use on regular house current, it is claimed to have better tone and more volume than the conventional type instrument. At the left is shown the loudspeaker and amplifying equipment used for producing varying degrees of volume, from a mere whisper to the maximum possible with this particular amplifier. With equipment such as this, a musical instrument can be given a voice loud enough to be heard for miles, if desired. Instruments of this type are becoming increasingly popular in dance orchestras, because normally soft voiced instruments can be made as loud as conditions require. Played like a conventional guitar, volume is increased merely
by turning up the volume control.


Called the world’s tiniest talking machine, a miniature phonograph has been built into the case of a watch. When wound by the watch stem, a small spring mechanism turns a midget record. Sound is reproduced through a diminutive horn.

Gibson Mandolins: The Music Pals of the Nation (Oct, 1923)

The Music Pals of the Nation

New friends, new pleasures, new and interesting experiences, invitations galore—dinners, dances, week-end parties, outings,—are some of the good things playing a Gibson brings into your life.

Gibson Instruments are easily learned in spare time without previous knowledge of music. A few weeks of pleasant, interesting study and you’ll be able to play. And there’s no other joy in life quite equal to hearing music you make on your own instruments.

$5.00 Monthly buys a Gibson. The ultimate in construction, finish, tone quality and volume. Built like a violin. Adjustable bridge, non-warpable truss rod neck and thirty other exclusive Gibson features. Guaranteed for life. Non-Gibson instruments exchanged.

Birth of Music Visualization (Apr, 1924)

It’s really amazing how much these pictures look like the modern music visualizers in WinAmp or iTunes.

Music Is Turned Into Glowing Color

Soundless Symphonies from Keys of “Organ” Projected on Screen Are Hailed as Birth of a New Art

THE audience sat in hushed and wondering expectancy within the darkened theater. Without accompaniment of sound, soft color suddenly glowed upon the screen. Slowly it moved into definite form, its modulation of figures evolving in majestic sweeps. Its hue deepened and then melted radiantly into iridescent crimson, and from the restless, ever-changing shapes a slow rhythm was born. It grew and blossomed, a symphony of light, plastic and mobile. The “clavilux,” as Thomas Wilfred, the inventor, has named the organ, opens the door to a new art, the expression of moving color and form, which the artist-craftsman believes is destined to take a place as a sister of music and sculpture. It has long been the vision of dreamers; Mr. Wilfred has actualized the dream and provided the instrument that visualizes it.

Piano Students Use Giant Keyboard (Aug, 1939)

What movie does this remind you of?

Piano Students Use Giant Keyboard

WHEN Arthur Zahorik, a high-school music teacher in Milwaukee, Wis., tells a student to “run up the scales” he means it literally. For on the classroom floor stands a two-octave model of a giant piano keyboard, with white keys a foot wide, upon which students step to demonstrate their mastery of chords and scales. Each of the keys is actually a treadle which, when depressed, closes an electrical contact, causing a metal rod to strike a tuned metal plate and sound the correct note.

Odd Designs on Film Turn to Music (Mar, 1933)

Odd Designs on Film Turn to Music

SYNTHETIC music is being produced in a German film studio by reversing a familiar process. When artists sing and orchestras play “before the talkie microphone, their music is recorded, in one standard method, as a wavy black line upon the sound track of the film. What would happen if an artist were to draw arbitrary shapes, imprint them on sound film, and run it through a reproducer? A German technician, Oscar Fischinger, recently tried the experiment with startling results. A series of concentric circles, drawn in a strip and photographed upon sound film, imitated an electric bell. Eye-like spots reproduced a bassoon, and a pattern of dots sounded like a xylophone.

Crosley Musicone (Oct, 1927)

Crosley Musicone

Wire coating represents years research —

Delicate actuating parts of loud speakers are subject to rust and deterioration. The Crosley patented actuating unit is not affected by the climate. Special impregnable coating covers the wire in the coils. Impervious bakelite instead of cardboard bobbins prevents any retention of moisture. Higher voltage is possible with resultant louder, finer tones.


To provide musicians with a larger accordion than could be carried conveniently on a strap around the neck, a foot-pedal instrument of ingenious design has been devised and patented by Samuel Sater, New York City inventor. One of its two pedals expands the bellows; the other contracts it. The notes are pressed with the fingers upon a keyboard resembling that of a piano. Removing the front casing, however, reveals that each of the keys, when depressed, opens a valve that allows air from the bellows to pass over a corresponding set of reeds for that particular tone. Readily portable, the instrument is dismantled or set up again in a few minutes, the outer sections folding together to provide a case.



Who were the earliest broadcasters? Ten years before the first radio programs were put on the air, a group in Chicago., 111., regularly delivered musical programs and news bulletins over the telephone lines of many subscribers. The rare old photograph reproduced below shows these pioneers broadcasting from their studio. Each singer is holding a microphone, while other individual microphones are attached to the instruments. To listen to the music, a subscriber had merely to sit beside the telephone and hold the receiver to his ear. If he received a ‘phone call while listening, the musical program was automatically disconnected.