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West Seattle Herald
Seattle , Washington
September 10, 1997     West Seattle Herald
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September 10, 1997

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] O Wednesday, September 10, 1997 West Seattle Herald/White Center News It er, By Eric stuff. Many of his 1,400 patents Francis have become common place in day- HERALD-NEWS to-day life. Ben But it's a lesser-known invention has that Franklin said gave him more invented a personal satisfaction than all the others. Franklin invented the glass arrnonica, an ethereal-sounding instrument, around the middle of the 18th century. While it was all the rage in Europe until the early 19th century, its captivating charm actually caused its demise. Today there are only seven known armonicas in the United States. One of those is a featured attraction at Hokum Hall's 82nd Armonica player annual Vaudeville Festival,. Seattle resident William Wilde Zeitler is William Wilde the owner and player of the instru- Zeitler with his ment. instrument. Franklin got the idea for the armonica when he went to Europe as an ambassador for the colonies and heard a concert played on musical glasses. The wine glasses, each filled with a different amount of water, made different sounds when a moistened finger was moved around their edges. Franklin was captivated by the sound, and set about trying to create a more efficient instrument. He removed the stem and base from the glasses and inserted a steel rod through them. He also had the glasses precisely tuned, eliminating the need to fill them with water. IT TOOK almost 10 years to build the first armonica, with Franklin rejecting 99 percent of the glasses blown for it. The armonica enjoyed wide- spread popularity for about 40 years, with people like Marie Antoinette learning to play. Mozart and Beethoven composed pieces for it. But the most influential player of the instrument, and possibly most detrimental, was Dr. Frank Mesmer. Mesmer found the sound useful for hypnotizing (or "mesmer"izing) patients. Fear of the process, and of course the instrument, spread. It was rumored to cause insanity, nervous disorders, marital disputes, and even supposedly had the power to wake the dead. It was outlawed in many places in the 1830s. That might have been the end of model which playing POLICY AS TO lden School admits students of anY ethnic origin to all the generally accorded ol It does not discriminate on the and ethnic origin in administration admissions policies, scholarshi athletic and other school-adrr ARNOLD ISAACSON Hearing Aid Dispenser * Free Hearing Test • Healing Aid Batteries • Repairs (All Brands) * All Insurance Plans Accepted OVER 50 YEARS Better Hearing Through Professional Care SOUND ASSOCIATES, INC. WEST SEATTLE 4506 California Ave. SW 937-8700 an the Se r Center Enjoying a Secure, Ca • Accredited by the American Association of Homes for the • Housekeeping, laundry services, and 24 hour security • Maintenance of your apartment, building & grounds • Social activities and trips • Two or three meals daily • Independent living at the Ballymena Assisted living services • 24 hour skilled nursing care 2-5 S---VV Seattle, WA a Presbyterian r 98136 • AS SEEN ON "DATELINE NBC" "Extraordinary.. As Roberts speaks, the wisdom born of a tough and immensely varied life comes floating out of him...surprising, multi-faceted and ultimately enriching." --SPORTING LIFE Meet Monty Roberts in these dales: \'\\ [ WASHINGTON, D.C. • HOUSTON • AMARILLO • DALLAS i " " ALBUQUERQUE • CALGARY-ALBERTA VANCOUVER LEXINGTON NASHVILLE • SEATTLE • SAN FRANCISCO • LOS ANGELES [ Call toll free 1-~&332-5200 for more information. i Ask about the North American Join-Up Tour featuring k~ live training demonstrations by Monty Roberts. // RANDOM ~ HOUSE Also available as a Random House AudioBook http://www.randomhouse.cond Rated II by the Municipal Endorsed by: * The Seattle Times • The Seattle PI • Washington Conservation Voters • King County Labor Council $1 H • Recommended by the Alki Foundation RICHARD FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL ---- Paid for by People for Richard Conlin * PO Box 22318 • 2303 Third Ave. Phone: 328-9797 • Fax: 441-4118 • E-mail: • Web: