The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117019   Message #2516818
Posted By: Lizzie Cornish 1
16-Dec-08 - 10:27 AM
Thread Name: Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica
Subject: Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica
We went to his house on Sunday, the one where he lodged in London for 16 years, whilst over here. If anyone's not been, it's well worth a visit. The house has been restored now, but has no furniture at all in there. They manage to make it interesting though, by first showing you a short video about Benjamin, and the House..down in the room where they discovered all the bones in the basement, left over from the anatomy classes which were held there.

When that's finished, Polly Hewson, who was the daughter of his landlady, comes to show you round the house. She doesn't look at you, but you follow her from room to room, watching, as she talks with 'guests' who've come to stay. They are talking to Benjamin himself, as does Polly from time to time. They run a video on the walls or fireplaces of the rooms too, which tallies with the story being told at the time. It's surreal, but excellently done, and Polly is a fantastic actress...Or is she a ghost?   :0)

Benjamin Franklin's London Home

We also got to play the full size replica of Ben's Armonica...which made a sound that was fairly ear-shattering. Very interesting to have a go on. They play it with Baby Wipes.. :0) First, you soak the glass jars themselves, then you soak the wipe, wrap it round your fingers and press very hard on the rim of each glass jar, to produce the sound. The jars are constantly spinning, by the way. It follows on from Ben watching some Irishmen playing their wine glasses, and he loved the sound they produced so much that he went home and invented his Armonica.

You can hear a pretty good likeness of the sound here:

Play the Glass Armonica

Well worth a visit, if ever you're near Trafalgar Square. Stand with your back to The Charing Cross Hotel, and turn left, then it's the first left-hand turning, Craven St.