Calliope made by Olds Engineering

The Mary Whistler Calliope


The secret to the high quality of the Olds' Calliope is the finely constructed valve, shown here in cross-section

A calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending steam through whistles, originally locomotive whistles. Joshua C. Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts invented the calliope, patented October 9, 1855. The calliope is also known as a "steam organ" or "steam piano." It was often played on riverboats and in circuses, where it was sometimes mounted on a carved, painted and gilded horse-drawn wagon in a circus parade.

Stoddard's original calliope was attached to a metal roller set with pins in the manner familiar to Stoddard from the contemporary clockwork music box. The pins on the roller opened valves and blew the whistles. Later, Stoddard replaced the cylinder with a keyboard, so that the calliope could be played like an organ.


Callipe Valve

Wm. Olds & Sons Pty. Ltd. trading as OLDS ENGINEERING
78-80 North Street, Maryborough Q, 4650 Australia
P.O. Box 3030, Pallas St. Post Office, Maryborough Q, 4650
Phone: 07 4121 3649 Fax: 07 4123 3590 International Phone +61 7 4121 3649 Fax: +61 7 4123 3590

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