Electric light is transformed into a screen-play of moving color forms for entertainment in the living room by the home “Clavilux,” a form of the symphonic light organ intended for the theateror auditorium (P. S. M., Feb. ’29, p. 37). The new instrument, adapted to the home, is designed as a dual cabinet in the modernistic style, the upper section containing a screen upon which color symphonies are played from a projection apparatus in the cabinet below.

The way in which the projection mechanism works is similar to that of a phonograph, the operation depending on a small electric motor that revolves a turntable bearing colored glass disk records about the size of ordinary phonograph records. At this point the resemblance ceases. Instead of producing music, the glass disk record of the Clavilux breaks up light coming from just beneath it into whirling color patterns that are focused by lenses on the cardboard screen above. A great variation of the patterns on the glass disks is possible, with color harmonies to suit every mood.

The performance is controlled from a small keyboard box that may be removed and taken to any part of the room. Weighing only a few ounces, the keyboard has buttons for controlling light intensity, color modification, and changes of focus by means of the lenses. Step-down transformers, connected with the regular light circuit, provide the necessary current. The motor starts automatically as the cabinet door opens.

Another variety of the same instrument is one designed to look like a moderate sized desk lamp. It plays the same records, but uses the ceiling as a screen. The effects obtained with either of these light consoles are intended, the inventor claims, to give to a room in a modern home the pleasing glow which in former times was furnished by a fireplace.

  1. M.S.W. says: August 9, 201110:12 am

    This is the tech they used to create the M-5 Computer display in the classic Star Trek episode “The Ultimate Computer”.

  2. Hirudinea says: August 9, 20111:59 pm

    When I was a kid we had a “fireplace” that worked on a similar principle, is had logs and plastic “coals” on the front and behind was a lightbulb with a spinning plastic picture on it, turn the “fireplace” on, the bulb heat turns the picture and you have “fire”! I loved that thing.

  3. Scattergood says: December 28, 20112:09 pm

    Thanks for posting this – as a fan of Thomas Wilfred and a owner of one of his Clavilux Jr. I really appreciated this information. . .

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