Saturday, April 23, 2011

Luxatone: the Color Organ, turning sound in color

H Spencer Lewis

     Among H Spencer Lewis' many talents
was that of designer and builder of unusual electrical inventions and prototypes
for the purpose of demonstrating the mystical principles and natural
law found in the teachings. If he were alive today he would probably
be called a hardware hacker in the best sense of the term.
     When the first AMORC Rosicrucian Temple 
was opened in 1915 in New York City it had a 'wireless' radio with HSL
often putting on headphones and scanning the airwaves to hear what was
out there.
    Indeed, part of the description of a Rosicrucian
throughout the ages is a mystic who can embrace new technologies to
help spread the Light.    Modern Rosicrucians have adapted
the new Internet technology in much the same way to stay in touch, participate
in forums, distribute materials, get research help, learn about local
activities and visit web sites like this one.
     So, with the goal of inspiring others
to find new ways to use new technologies to spread the Light I offer
for your entertainment this collection of strange devices from the night
gallery of the occult.
   The Color Organ was a device that converted
portions of the audio spectrum into portions of the color light spectrum.    
The microphone was used to input speech or music and the display screen
would display the colors and their intensity in sync.   The
man on the left is Ralph M. Lewis before he became the 2nd Imperator
     It's primary use was to demonstrate
the Cosmic Keyboard as taught by AMORC that there are octaves of manifestation
and that each musical note has a harmonic correspondence to a specific
color in a higher octave.
     The design principle was fairly simple
though innovative for it's time.   The screen was a triangular
box with a translucent piece of glass on the front.  Within the
box in each corner was a red, blue or green colored light bulb whose light
would glow and be visible through the glass viewing screen. 

     Within the console itself was a complex
circuit built from vacuum tubes and radio components.  There was
one primary detection channel or circuit.   When a sound frequency
was detected via the microphone the circuit would measure the frequency
and power the colored light bulbs in combination to mix the desired color.  
The three light bulbs represented the three primary colors from which
all other colors could be mixed by lighting the bulbs in varying intensity
with the blended color appearing in the center of the triangular display.

The guts of the Luxatone
with vacuum tubes and a hefty power transformer.

     After the Luxatone was demonstrated
with success this booklet was published and sent out to members of the Order
and the newspapers.  Here's scans
of the complete booklet.

     If you were in college in the 1960's
or 70's you may have owned a modern version of the Luxatone sold by
Radio Shack that connected to the speaker terminals of your stereo and
blinked colored lights in rhythm with the music.  Far out, man! 
And a very entertaining scientific demonstration of the Cosmic Keyboard
    One other thing..... the Luxatone built
by H Spencer Lewis bears a surprising resemblance to the 'Interoscitor',
a communications device built by space aliens in the 1950's sci-fi classic
movie This Island Earth.  Take a look and see what you
think!  :-)

The Cosmic Ray Coincidence Counter


    The Cosmic Ray Coincidence Counter appears
to have been a very early prototype of a Geiger counter to detect and
register ambient levels of radioactivity which at that time in the 1930's
was still an largely unknown frequency spectrum and scientific mystery. 
     Just as radio had years earlier proven
that speech and music could be transmitted via an unseen and wireless
'ether' it could now use that same radio technology to contact and demonstrate
the existence of an even high rate of vibration that was closer still
to the divine vibration of creation.

     The two long tubes on the front were
used as transducers to detect the Cosmic Ray particles just like a radio
antenna or sensor probe of a giggler counter.  These were rotated
and adjusted along with the dials to set the frequency range and detection
     Now if you  look carefully at the
photos showing the rear of the unit you'll see a  vacuum tube driven
radio receiver and audio amplifier connected to a round speaker from
which the audience could actually hear the Cosmic Ray particles.   
The metal box on the bottom shelf was the AC power supply.
     This device was used for demonstration
purpose at conventions and RCU during the late 1930's to early 1940's
to demonstrate the existence of higher frequency manifestations and the
ability to contact these forces through the use of the principles of attunement.

Sympathetic Vibration Harp

   One of the keystone teachings
of AMORC was the principle of resonance or sympathetic vibration which simply
states that one object vibrating at a particular frequency with resonate
with another object that is also tuned to the same frequency.

     H. Spencer Lewis built a simple harp from wood with
12 strings tuned to the 12 musical notes of the scale. You would then strike
one of the tuning forks and hold it close to the strings so the one string
tuned to that note would sound.  Pitch pipes were also used as were violin
bows stroked against a pane of glass (see above).

Here's a paper on Chromoacoustics: The Science of Sound and Color

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