water organ

Encyclopedia

water organ

earliest known mechanical pipe organ. It was invented in the 3rd century BC by Ctesibius of Alexandria, culminating prior attempts to apply a mechanical wind supply to a large set of panpipes. Its pipes stood on top of a wind chest that was connected to a conical wind reservoir. The reservoir was supplied with air by one or two pumps. For the pipes to sound evenly, the wind chest needed steady air pressure. The open bottom of the cone was set in a tall outer container half filled with water. When air pressure in the cone was low, the water level rose inside it, compressing the air and restoring the former air pressure. The player operated keys or, on some instruments, sliders that let air into the pipes.

Learn more about water organ with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: water ordeal
Next Definition: water ousel
Words Near: water organ
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for water organ
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing water organ
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature