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Musical fountain

Posted on | June 4, 2010 | Comments Off on Musical fountain

Article by jekky

Fountains that are choreographed to music These fountains also generally called musical fountains appear to respond to music but have been programmed beforehand The earliest of these were played manually by a live operator who usually controlled pumps or valves and sometimes lights by way of switches on a control panel Music was almost always live Later choreography could be prerecorded on a punched paper card which was scanned by a computer and even later it could be recorded on magnetic tape or in the most modern shows on a CD along with the music Even so the choreography must still be painstakingly programmed by hand some types of shows being played live from a control console and connected to a computer that records the operator s actions for later automatic playback The earliest choreographed musical fountains The Bodor Fountain Pter Bodor was a Hungarian gadgeteer and mechanical engineer born on June 22 1788 and died August 17 1849 who built a musical or chiming fountain in the Transylvanian town of Marosvsrhely now Trgu Mure Romania between 1820 and 1822 His fountain see pictures here had a round floor plan with two arched stairs on the sides dome roof supported by pillars The mechanical core was a hydaulic structure driven by the force of water that played then popular chimes at every hour There was a gilded Neptune or Apollo statue on the top that turned round in 24 hours The fountain was destroyed in 1836 by a snow storm and was never restored However an almost identical copy was built in Budapest s Margit Island in 1936 that did not operated by hydraulic means but used electricity instead This latter was partly destroyed during the Second World War but restored in 1954 and again in 1997 Now it is a tourist attraction that plays music at every hour during the day The work of F W Darlington Prismatic Fountain Denver Colorado May 30 1908 Mayor Robert W Speer and F W Darlington an engineer with the Denver Interurban Railway dedicate the new marvel in City Park Lake The Prismatic Electric Fountain The Fountain features electric lighting effects that have not been seen before by the public Eleven columns of brightly colored light stream through the dramatic changing patterns of water High in the north tower of the City Park Pavilion an operator sits at a roll top desk moving levers to undulate the twelve sets of water features and make the columns of light change color to the sounds of the Denver Municipal Band Denver Municipal Facts May 22 1909 F W Darlington was a pioneer in electrical fountain control as well as water design Darlington had several signature water feature elements in his fountain designs The multiple spray rings with basket weave nozzle placement is one that shows up in photographs of several fountains including some not yet credited to Darlington The fan effect a complicated triple spray ring with multiple nozzle sizes and angles is yet another water effect seen in several Electric Fountains from Friends of the Electric Fountain early pictures available Prismatic Fountain New Orleans Louisiana 1915 The Darlington fountain in New Orleans West End and was likely completed around 1915 or 1916 as the last date on the original drawings are from February 1915 The fountain served as an icon for the West End Park and surrounding yacht clubs and numerous restaurants that were located in the area All of Darlington fountains required an operator to change the water effects and lighting and were likely used in conjunction with music played by a band or orchestra for special events It is unknown if the fountain was operated in a static mode when there were no performances or if it was shut off Restoration of this fountain is currently planned by the Friends of West End in New Orleans Garfield Park Indianapolis Indiana 1916 In 1915 the new greenhouses and Conservatory were built The dedication of the Sunken Garden took place October 29 1916 In 1916 Darlington was hired to design and build the fountains at the east end of the Sunken Garden The fountains were the first in the country to be equipped with the mechanics that allowed the changing of the spray and displayed lights according to the season and holiday For Memorial Day the fountain s lights were alight with red white and blue and on other days gold and white Today the fountains are still a popular attraction for visitors This fountain was restored by The Fountain People in 1997 and with a musical control system by Atlantic Fountains in 2003 Pool of Industry 1939 New York World s Fair An early notable example of a musical fountain choreographed live was the Pool of Industry at the 1939 New York World Fair where three operators controlled the fountain guided by a paper program that unscrolled under a glass window like the paper roll of a player piano rather than controlling the effects directly like a piano roll it was marked with commands that told the operators when to push the buttons and throw the switches This fountain was more than just water and lights however Besides 3 million watts of lights and a gigantic pool containing 1 400 water nozzles there were over 400 gas jets with a mechanism that caused colored flames and fireworks were shot from over 350 launchers creating a nighttime spectacle on a grand scale Music was played live by the fair s band and broadcast by large speakers to the areas surrounding the display The updated show displayed at the same fairgrounds in 1964 lacked the colored flames but used punched cards for the choreography had prerecorded music and utilized the then revolutionary system of dichroic light filtering developed by Bausch and Lomb for the fountain which now allowed a dark colored lens and a light colored lens to produce the same brightness of light It was by this process that 700 000 watts of light produced over 3 megacandelas This show also had single lights with multiple sliding color filters for mixing colors and arrays of nozzles that could be adjusted their direction changed by hydraulic or pneumatic actuators The Przystawic legacy In 1930s Germany Otto Przystawic first conceived the idea of creating a fountain that would recreate the gracefulness and elegance of ballet His first display was built in the Resi Restaurant in Berlin for which he was an electrical engineer Visible through a series of archways arrays of water nozzles created water sprays that not only rose and fell but swayed side to side or revolved in a circle mimicking real dancers Colored lights bathed the moving water formations in color and made the water sparkle Diners were enthralled as the water performed to live music controlled by a single operator sitting at a control console Przystawic s clever engineering took the fountains to the next level when after the war a show was installed on a stage in the rebuilt Resi Restaurant Ballroom where it became a local attraction While traveling through Berlin with his Skating Vanities show showman Harold Steinman saw the Resi installation and was taken by the idea Contracting with Przystawic he went to Leon Leonidoff at Radio City Music Hall in New York City For the first time in history Leonidoff booked a show sight unseen and what Steinman called the Dancing Waters made its American debut in January 1953 Four weeks later Dancing Waters took another first being the first show to be rebooked in such a short time This time Dancing Waters added its magic to Radio City s famed Easter spectacular The success of Dancing Waters in the US prompted Steinman to add them to his list of touring shows and he formed Dancing Waters Inc and purchased numerous shows from Przystawic Redesigned to be portable the new shows could be disassembled for transport and were supplied with inflatable rubber basins to hold the water The shows used the best Przystawic engineering for example variable speed pumps and complex valves were many years away so the fountain s pump motors were connected to large power resistors adjustable by a row of levers on the control console By moving these levers the amount of power supplied to each pump s motor could be varied which caused the pumps to speed up or slow down and change the water height In addition the control console grouped many of its controls into single switches allowing the operator to play many effects at once with one hand The Przystawic shows were unique in that water effects danced to the music either swaying driven by a motor or revolving on a bearing pushed by water pressure While Otto Przystawic and soon his son Gunter continued to improve their shows in Germany Harold Steinman took the Dancing Waters on a successful tour of the United States and the world The waters found at least one permanent home at the short lived Royal Nevada Hotel in Las Vegas In the early 1970s Gunter moved the family business to Florida and he soon with his son Michael continued to update their shows Changing the name to Waltzing Waters to show the difference between Otto Przystawic s simpler fountains the new shows sent out water through perfectly aligned nozzles with almost laser like precision creating very precise orderly patterns that picked up the colored lights The mechanics that moved the swaying nozzles became more complex allowing one array of nozzles to move in a number of different ways depending on how the motors that moved them were connected Abandoning the cumbersome system of resistors each water effect was given three heights the method that made this possible used only two pumps without any valves The new shows were offered as permanent installations and those placed on a stage could have overhead lights concealed in the stage s flyloft Outdoor shows and indoor installations where overhead lighting was not possible used submersible lights The lighting and nozzles were arrayed in ways that allowed one effect to be lit in one color and another effect in front of the first to be a separate color Each segment of the fountain in odd and even sections front and back lights separate in three areas dividing the fountain into thirds coupled with the various moving and rotating nozzles provide seemingly endless arrays of effects all of them exhibiting the high quality of construction and ingeniously simple mechanics the Przystawics are known for New fountains were controlled by computer and choreographed shows created by hand at the factory using a fountain installed there could be sent to the user on a CD that contained both water and light cues and music One show using the new effects but still having a live operator can be seen at the Waltzing Waters Theatre in Branson Missouri Waltzing Waters newest shows are due to the precision water and lighting effects and the lightning fast response of the pumps known by the trademarked term Liquid Fireworks and video clips available from their website demonstrate as much They also provide Classic fountains and Simplicity fountains which offer progressively less effects for smaller budgets Show sizes range from thirty feet up to massive units the length of a football field Custom shows have been built in separated segments turned around a gentle corner even bent sharply into a U Waltzing Waters recently purchased the aging Dancing Waters and has begun renting Classic series fountains Later water fountains The Dancing Waters style of water show is a linear display of pumps and lights In the United States similar fountains are the Musical Waters Musical Waters shows use the basic Dancing Waters mechanics The fountains use single speed pumps and do not offer variable water heights and the revolving nozzles are not present since the Dancing Waters design having been prone to jamming Despite lacking the rotating nozzles that usually define this type of show the Musical Waters shows are one of the few of this kind that still retain most of the simple elegance that defined Otto Przystawic s first fountains including the visual attraction of the human element with live fountaineers controlling the effects Dancing fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas Other United States based companies such as WET Water Entertainment Technologies Fontana Fountains Atlantic Fountains Formosa Fountains Hall Fountains and Waterworks International have built fully computer controlled musical fountains since 1980 These include two to six meter wide systems available to the homeowner as well as large corporate municipal and show fountains in excess of fifty meters in lengthnd in the case of WET s Fountains of Bellagio 9 acres 3 6 ha in size These include proportional interactive and audio spectral control that bring musical fountains to a wide audience Fountain shapes are not limited to linear layout stage shows but include geometric and freeform shapes as well Moreover latest technology allows the construction of Floating watershows Fontana Fountains first introduced the use of Stainless Steel floaters allowing bigger water show applications even in coasts and lakes Numerous manufacturers in the Near and Far East in places such as India and Pakistan also produce musical fountains Many of them have updated the look with individually servomotor controlled nozzles large water screens on which video can be projected and laser effects Shows are built not only in the standard linear form but in circular semicircular and oblong shapes in multiple pools and many other layouts In many places in India a musical fountain is a must have attraction for any city and there will often be at least one if not multiple local companies ready to build them These systems can be complex with quality varying by manufacturer Many firms also rent shows International Fountain Built for the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1963 the International Fountain s original design had changing water and light patterns with a background of classical music though the patterns weren t specifically intended to be synched with the music The fountain was very large designed as a concrete bowl around a moonscape of broke

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