Musical Water Wheel

This apparatus was mounted on a raft which floated on the Brazeau River. It was held in place by a wire fastened to a tree farther upstream and braced out from the bank by a pole. A pulley on the axel of the water wheel was linked to the large drum by a rope belt causing the drum to rotate as the current supplied the power. A xylophone was mounted on the raft floor in line with eight levers which played the notes. Each lever was tripped as a peg on the drum came down, momentarily lifting it, then letting it drop, causing the note to be struck. The striking tips of the levers were empty .303 shell casings which provided the weight and the metallic sound as the xylophone key was struck A rubber covered “bounce board” was so placed that it ran under all levers. When a lever dropped, its weight caused the note to be struck but the rubber caused it to bounce up off the metal key thus producing a clear ringing tone. The pegs on the drum were small wooden blocks, each on a nail that held them 1” from the drum. They were placed in line with the levers and spaced in such a way that the timing of the tune was right. This placing was worked out by using the music which came with the instrument.(Shown here, a peg is lifting the lever for the 2nd note beginning “Jingle Bells”) This was the second tune it played. The first one was “Home Sweet Home”. The change of music was made by rearranging the pegs on the drum As long as the thing stayed on the river and the water wheel turned, it would play this tune repeatedly.