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Harmonograph

1 Harmonic patterns from Sir Thomas Bazleys Index to the Geometric Chuck 1875, showing concurrent countercurrent phases with equal inverted amplitudes. 32 equal amp. concurrent 32 inv. amp. concurrent 32 inv. amp. counterc. 21 equal amp. concurrent 21 equal amp. counterc. 21 inv. amp. counterc. 21 inv. amp. concurrent 73 inv. amp. counterc. 52 equal amp. counterc. 52 inv. amp. counter. 31 equal amp. counterc. 31 equal amp. concurrent 31 inv. amp. concurrent 31 inv. amp. counterc. 41 equal amp. concurrent 41 inv. amp. concurrent 51 equal amp. concurrent 51 inv. amp concurrent Many of the drawings in this book were produced by a simple scientific instrument known as a harmonograph, an invention attributed to a Professor Blackburn in 1844. Towards the end of the nineteenth century there seems to have been a vogue for these instruments. Victorian gentlemen and ladies would attend soires or conversaziones, gathering round the instruments and exclaiming in wonder as they watched the beautiful and mysterious drawings appear. A shop in London sold portable models that could be folded into a case and taken to a party. There may well be some of these instruments hidden in lofts throughout the country. From the moment I first saw drawings of this kind I was hooked not only because of their strange beauty, but because they seemed to have a meaning a meaning which became clearer and deeper as I found out how to make and operate a harmonograph. The instrument draws pictures of musical harmonies, linking sight and sound. However, before going any further I feel I should issue a health warning. If you too are tempted to follow this path, beware It is both fascinating and timeconsuming. I have acknowledged my debt to the book Harmonic Vibrations. It was coming across this book in a library soon after the end of the second world war that introduced me to the Harmonograph. Seeing that the book had been published by a firm of scientific instrument makers in INTRODUCTION
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