Inside the Collection

Audio objects

Meccano orrery for Earth Hour

March 26, 2014

Lynne McNairn
Saturday 29th March 2014 from 8.30pm to 9.30pm EST is Earth Hour, when we get the chance to turn off the lights and possibly consider our place in the universe. This Meccano orrery is a clever mechanical device used to demonstrate the position, motions and phases of our Earth and the Moon as we orbit the Sun.

This week, in Game Masters, Part II…

March 5, 2014

Deborah Turnbull
As promised, the newly acquired Magnavox Odyssey gaming console went on exhibit in the Game Masters exhibition mid-February. If you’re looking for it, it’s just before ‘Arcade Heroes’ in the alcove of Game Masters; just across from the double click showcase housing similarly exciting game consoles from the Powerhouse Museum Collection.

The communising of the mobile computer devise

August 14, 2013

Damian McDonald
'The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall'.  Che Guevara Computing devices are now so ensconced in our lives that the notion of being deprived of one of these devices is seen as a removal of liberty.

Expedition to establish first Meteorological Observatory Kosciuszko, 1897

February 11, 2013

Geoff Barker
There are numerous ways in which information is added to our collection. One of the most obvious is a result of the work done by staff to update our records but another important source of information comes as a result of the continual enquiries and suggestions from the general public.

Jobs – not the greatest just the latest

October 7, 2011

Campbell Bickerstaff
During an interview yesterday regarding the design legacy of Steve Jobs I was probed to cast back and find something comparable.  I thought about Olivetti and their penchant, early in the 20th century, for graduates of the Bauhaus who they put to work on shaping their image, corporate and product, with new dynamic graphics and plasticity to product design.  This emphasis and understanding and appreciation from the corporate head down of design were later emulated by Braun and Sony (among others) with even more crafted identities.

Beginning Electronic Music- part 5 Transient Waveform Modifier

July 2, 2010

Stephen Jones
This is another of the objects that the Powerhouse Museum collected from the Tristram Cary estate. It too pre-dates the EMS gear and, by my guess, was built in the early to mid 1960s. It is a hand-built device labelled as a Transient Waveform Modifier.

Beginning Electronic Music- Tristram Cary part 3

June 11, 2010

Stephen Jones
see parts one and two of this blog post In 1965 Moog and the American composer, Eric Siday, conceived a single package which would contain versions of the many different devices used in the studio. Moog then assembled these into a modular system containing several voltage controlled oscillators, voltage controlled filters, envelope generators and voltage controlled amplifiers in a single package.

Beginning Electronic Music- Tristram Cary part 2

June 4, 2010

Stephen Jones
Please note this post is part of a series. For part one of the Tristram Cary story, see here. By 1962 Cary was not the only composer including electronic and concrete sounds in their work. In 1957 Daphne Oram and Desmond Briscoe began developing what they called “Radiophonic” sound for broadcasts of drama from the BBC Third Programme.

Beginning Electronic Music- Tristram Cary part 1

May 28, 2010

Stephen Jones
The purpose of this extended note on Tristram Cary is to provide a context within which to introduce several electronic music instruments within the collection of the Powerhouse Museum. These will include two pre-synthesiser devices, early EMS synthesisers and other custom built objects that are now part of the museum’s collection.

Scopitone: the iPod macro

November 30, 2009

Damian McDonald
Video killed the radio star. Television killed the coffee bar. Or at least fatally wounded it in the 1960s. In post WWII Western Europe, the US and Australia, people were staying home to watch the telly; and milk bars, cafes, arcades and nigh clubs began to suffer.

Maccaferri plastic guitar

June 17, 2009

Michael Lee
As I mentioned this is another of my favourite things in the collection. It was bought by the museum from Maccaferri’s plastics company in the USA in the 1950s as an example of what you could do with plastic, and it doesn’t sound too bad as an instrument either.