12
Oct
07

Popular Science, April ’33: Build a Proto-Stylophone

How To Build An Electric Organ For About Five DollarsBzzzzzzzweeeeEEEEzzzzzzzz

The always-cool Modern Mechanix ran this 1933 Popular Science story reprint yesterday. The message: chase away the blues of the Great Depression by building, tuning and playing an inexpensive monotimbral “electric organ”. If for no reason other than the one-note, tuned-resistor characteristic, I thought right away of the electrical and likely tonal similarities to the much-later Stylophone – and its good works in the hands of Kraftwerk (“Pocket Calculator”) and Bowie (“Ashes To Ashes”). No matter what decade, it’s always a miracle when you can make music from the sound of a crappy apartment building door buzzer. Plans here.

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