About Mathew

I'm a Toronto-based writer, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

A Beautifully Restored Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina

This is incredible: A professional restorer has painstakingly recreated a Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina, something I didn’t even realize existed until now — like a giant player piano but with violins:

Three violins (each with only one active string) mounted vertically were played by a round rotating bow made of 1300 threads of horse hair, according to the program on the roll of perforated paper. The small bellows replaced the violin player’s fingers, pressing on the strings to obtain the necessary notes. The piano can be driven either unaccompanied or together with the violins. It controls 38 accompaniment keys with 12 high notes (one octave) in extension. The whole pneumatic systems are controlled by an electric engine of uninterrupted current.

Source: A Beautifully Restored Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina, A Self-Playing Mechanical Violin Orchestrion Player

The Mail Order American Dream

The author of the blog McMansion Hell does a deep dive into the history of the “mail-order home” or kit home — a time when you could order a three-bedroom bungalow from a catalog for just $900 (via kottke.org)

The kit house, a product of mass-production took the pattern-book concept even further. For each kit house, every piece of lumber, siding, doors, windows, columns, etc. were produced to exact precision in a factory, numbered for easy assembly, and sent to the site by rail and delivered to the lot via cart or truck.

Source: The Mail Order American Dream: An Introductory… | McMansion Hell