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Sawbones: Ben Franklin’s Glass Armonica

An illustration of two blue snakes twisting around a radius and ulna bone topped with a handsaw coming off either side to form a caduceus staff. The snake on the left is wearing a red dunce cap and the snake on the right is wearing a red graduation cap. The background is a pop art style red to blue fade. At the bottom of the image it says “Sawbones” with “A marital tour of misguided medicine” written below that.

Benjamin Franklin: Prolific writer. Founding Father. Inventor. Creator of a killer instrument? The Glass Armonica, more or less a series of singing water bowls with haunting melody, became a popular instrument for a very short amount of time. But by 1830, it ceased being played entirely. Was it because its strange harmonics were making people ill? Or maybe it was just very fragile and hard to carry around?

Music: “Medicines” by The Taxpayers

Transcript available here