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Paul E. Freiling and the "Calliette"
by Paul Freiling
Digital camera images by Lee Roan
Click to hear "Stars and Stripes Forever" (8kb MIDI file)
I was born in April 1921 and raised in Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. I grew up hearing the Streckfuss excursion boats playing the calliopes (steam, of course), and also, being somewhat of a circus buff, have always loved the sounds of calliopes. Several years ago, not being financially able to buy one, I decided that I could build one. I am a retired machinist, with a shop in my back yard, where I can make about anything I take a notion to. I really didn't know quite what I was doing, but I learned as I went. It's a long story, but it came out very well.
Inside the cabinet is
230 feet of hose, from 5/8" down to 5/32",
the rear of the cabinet is the spool frame which plays calliope A-rolls,
and also a Devtronics MIDI receiver so that MIDI disk files of calliope
tunes can be played. The instrument has 43 whistles, beginning at
F below middle C, the same as a CA43 Tangley. The tracker bar is
tubed to Wurlitzer unit valves, which operate individual pneumatics, which
in turn pull down the keys, which opens a poppet valve to the pipes.
of the poppet valve goes vertically down the inside of the copper elbow.
A short length of smaller copper tubing is soldered into the elbow to support
the valve stem. The photo shows each valve stem with a compression
spring and lock nuts, and a leather nut on top which the keys set upon.
years ago I designed and built a printer that fits on the rear of the Calliope.
The recording machine prints a blue line on the blank paper roll when a
key is played. Tiny knurled wheels normally press gently against
the inked roller above them; when a key is pressed a solenoid moves
the inked wheel into contact with the paper.
built this little frame punch to punch holes in the paper which was marked
by the roll recording machine. The solenoid operates when a foot
pedal is depressed, with the current controlled by a motor-driven rotary
interrupter. I added the interrupter because my ankle was getting
tired from pushing the pedal for every punch. But after punching
several rolls, I decided that going electronic might be easier.
made the MIDI system myself. I wound 12-volt coils in two banks of
21 notes, and teed them into the tubes from the tracker bar. The solenoids
pull a plunger away from an opening to let air into the tube. That
way I can use either system, A-roll or MIDI.
The marvelous "Do-Nothing Machine". Out of view on the back side is a small electric gear motor which slowly drives the plywood turntable, while another electric motor or two turns everything else. Deep inside the tightly packed collection of assorted shafts and gears is the remains of a Norden bomb sight from World War 2, and the rest just grew and grew! It was built from 1946 to 1952 by Lawrence F. Walstrom, Los Angeles, California. With over 750 gears, chains, etc., it accomplishes absolutely nothing! I wrote this article following several years ago to explain it.
The Do-Nothing Machine
This Machine, which is undoubtedly the most complex assemblage of Bicuspidary discs, was designed either by Government Engineers, or a committee, which is why as you see it, it goes nowhere, and does nothing. It was originally designed as a striking mechanism for a mantle clock, but it seems to have gotten carried away, with delusions of grandeur.
The three electrically powered motive forces, are gravitationally free, non-synchronal, trapezoidal seclusion wound, and in the Delta configuration. This of course prevents total flocture in case of power failure during critical lunar phases. In the event this happens, the operator must search rapidly, and diligently to find the cause of the escaping electrons, so that there is not an excess of stray electrons massing in the immediate area, which would tend to create some inaudible sounds toward the lower brackets.
The spherical metal mass orbiting in the redundantly circular raceway, is advanced rearward, due to the three epicyclic framatoidal cams, which are timed in sequential order.
Due to the inherent possibility during startup, of exceeding the Torsional Modulus of Elasticity, from the Polar Moment of Inertia, prior to final assembly, all shafts, except those which were castellated, were Frenelized in an uncontrolled Hydrostatic atmosphere to the equivalent of maximum kilopascals on the circumareolar scale.
There are 764 gears of all types, connected to each other, either by tooth, chain, shaft or otherwise, all going round and round, for the sole purpose of viewing by people who have nothing else to do, but watch it go round and round.
Paul E. Freiling
06 Dec 1998, 04 June 2001, 6 Sept. 2006
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