Experience the resonating sound of 44 quartz glass bowls in an ingenious arrangement that makes it possible to play music. The Glass Armonica is the musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761.
Said to be the invention that pleased him the most, Franklin’s Glass Armonica is a series of glass bowls mounted on a horizontal rod. Tapering in size, they are played like wine glasses as they spin. Mozart and Beethoven composed for it, and Marie Antoinette learned to play it. Franz Mesmer used his to “mesmerize” his patients. By the year 1790, this instrument had become wildly popular in Europe. There was, at one point, a factory with about one hundred workers making the instrument due to its demand. However, by 1830 musical fashions had changed, leaving the Glass Armonica behind. This elegant instrument virtually vanished for hundreds of years. Through the efforts of a few performers the world is now rediscovering one of Benjamin Franklin’s most curious inventions, the fantastic Glass Armonica.