While doing some research for an upcoming night in The Lounge, I came across the oddest musical instrument I have ever seen. Presenting the glass armonica, invented by none other than Benjamin Franklin. When Ben patented his new musical device in 1761, he called it the ‘armonica’, based on the Italian word armonia, which means “harmony”. The unrelated free-reed wind instrument called the “harmonica”, wasn’t invented until 1821 – sixty years later. Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea after was seeing water-filled wine glasses played by Edmund Delaval at Cambridge in England. He worked with London glassblower Charles James to help transform his idea into a working prototype, and the glass armonica had its world premiere in early 1762. The instrument’s popularity didn’t last much beyond the 18th century, partly due to strange rumors that using the instrument caused both musicians and their listeners to go mad. There’s been a modern revival of the instrument… Watch this fascinating demonstration.
Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unterlinden-Glass_harmonica_(3).jpg