Thursday, March 31, 2005

Things people had time to do before TV

This is amazing. This guy built working acoustic musical instruments out of matchsticks.

The Matchstick Man
...He used the burnt wooden matchsticks to build musical instruments. Yes, you did read that correctly. He used those dinky little burnt things to build guitars, banjos, and the like.

This ingenious man's name was Jack Hall. Back in the 1930’s, Jack was a sailor aboard the tramp steamer Eastwick and found himself with just a little bit too much time on his hands. Bored out of his mind, Jack just started messing around with the discarded wooden matchsticks that his fellow sailors had left behind, eventually gluing them together into ever increasingly complex and fascinating patterns.

It was the offhand comment made by a fellow sailor that he should “make a fiddle and strike up a tune”, however, that sent Jack off into the world of matchstick music. Jack's curiosity had gotten the better of him and he was determined to make that fiddle a reality. But Jack lacked some key skills to pull this trick off. First, he was not a musician. He couldn't read or play a single note. Even worse, Jack did not have any of the construction skills needed to produce an instrument.

...For the next six months, Jack devoted five hours per day to creating the fiddle. He used little more than a sharp knife, a razor blade, some sandpaper, a file, and glue. Each matchstick was soaked in water so that it could be molded into the proper shape. Bricks and other things were used to hold the matchsticks in place while the glue set.

Some 14,000 matchsticks later, Jack produced a working violin, bow and all.

The link has the full article and a picture gallery.


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