Tuesday, August 29, 2006

sound sculpture

thought i'd share some victorian sculptural insanity. these are cdv's (known as carte-de-visites in the small size, while these larger ones seem to be called cabinet views - 4.5" x 6.75"). they were popular from the 1860's until they were replaced by RPPC's around the turn of the century. these are photos mounted on a card stock that usually has the photographer's printed stamp.

i've limited my cdv collection to one man band musical contraptions - by folks who like to call themselves "musical genius" or "musical wonder". i love the crazed geometry of most of this stuff and can't imagine the beautiful dance these machines made when in use (much less the sounds they must've emitted!). poor professor charles contraptions look quite tame and much more parlour scaled; but upon inspection the asian influenced string and tiny bells look as thought they probably sounded angelic.

the first two photos are of professor mc.rae, ontario's musical wonder (the wonder is that i found them a year apart!). the third one is of someone who has very messy handwriting but i can make out the last name on the signature on the back as chisholm. next is of professor c.e. charles musical genius - on the back he's written: "original musical inventions, and copy right secured. 12 years study and experience" this was taken by hugo broich of milwaukee wisconsin. the last one is prof. dobie detroit mich, taken in boonton n.j. unfortunately a web search on all of these names provided nothing, so i can't give you any more history on these guys than that... click on the images to see them bigger...