Pendulums Draw Novel Designs (May, 1936)
Pendulums Draw Novel Designs
INTRICATE geometrical designs, many of striking beauty, are produced by a curious instrument constructed by Milan Fiske, junior student at Beloit College, Beloit, Wis., and known as a precision harmonograph. The unusual device, which its youthful builder believes may be the only one of its kind in the country operating on similar principles, aids in the mathematical study of compound harmonic motions. A platform, mounted on a universal joint, is rocked by a pendulum while a fountain pen at the end of a three-foot arm, also supported upon a universal joint, is given an independent motion by a second pendulum. This traces a design, called a harmonogram, upon a sheet of paper attached to the rocking platform. By swinging the pendulums in various ways, Fiske estimates, as many as 10.000,000 different patterns of curves may be produced.