Kastner's Pyrophone, 1873-1876

Made:
1873-1876 in France
maker:
Frédéric Kastner
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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Pyrophone, patented and made by Frédéric Kastner, France, 1873

Patented by the Strasbourg-born musician and scientist Fréderic Kastner in 1873, the pyrophone was a musical instrument in which flames encased in pipes similar to those of a traditional organ were used to produce musical notes. Kaster took advantage of Dr B Higgins’ 1777 discovery that a hydrogen flame positioned at the lower end of glass tube could produce a note and combined this with his musical knowledge (his father was the composer Georges Kastner) in order to produce a “Fire Organ”, as the instrument was also known.

Details

Category:
Acoustics
Materials:
beech (wood), brass (copper, zinc alloy), cardboard, ceramic (unspecified), ebony, felt, glass, ivory, lacquer, metal (unknown), oak (wood), paint, steel (metal) and wood (unidentified)
Measurements:
base: 1160 mm (Max height without glass tubes)
Identifier:
1876-590
type:
pyrophone
credit:
Dunant, Henry