The very last lately inquired about you
It's really very one or two
The first you wanted, the last I knew
(from "Cosmic Charley" Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia)
Okay, now that I've got the Grateful Dead lyrics out of my head, I can get on with the blog post. It's remarkable how I could concentrate on researching the calliope with that song running through my brain.
At circuses calliopes shared the steam power that drove the carousels, so that is why they became the classic carousel music. Some calliopes were in there own fancy wagons to be towed in the circus parade.
The design was patented in 1855 by Joshua C. Stoddard in Massachusetts. He wasn't the first to think up a steam powered musical instrument. In 1832 another guy invented the steam trumpet (a.k.a. train whistle.)
Something interesting I found while researching- "The Greatest Tattooed Man on Earth," Mose Smith (1891-1948), played the calliope. Nowadays the grandeur of his tattooing probably wouldn't be as shocking as it was at the time. But he toured with Ringling Bros as well as other shows. Another tidbit- he kept snakes and an orangutan.
You can buy calliope music at this link. They let you listen to a sample too.
|Our trip to Disneyland in 2010|
Hmm, now that I've discovered calliope's sister instrument, the propane powered pyrophone, I may change my story writing plans.