At 6:44 PM -0400 9/19/01, ibbetson wrote:
>At 19/9/2001 08:22 -0700, Don Wilkes wrote:
>>Oh! I shall really have to see if our library has a copy of that! I
>>remember building one in about 1965, and being endlessly fascinated by the
>>patterns it would create. I never knew a name for the device, though.
>>Does the book mention anything about who invented it, when, and what
>>prompted its discovery?
>It's been used for drawing background patterns on currency notes. The
>device may have been known to Newton, but not by that name or for this
>The name "harmonograph" may be Anthony Ashton's name (and possibly
>copyright) for his version of the device.
If I remember correctly, the Eames designed "World of Mathematics" exhibit (in Seattle) had one of these which also went under the name "harmonograph." I built one when I was 12 and called it that then.
I suppose that much of what we think about as beautiful and harmonious has a mathematical basis -- if for no other reason then because much of our idea of harmony comes from the experience of art (or the world) revealing inner order out of apparent chaos. This probably springs in our culture from the Christian notion that all true art reveals the hand and mind of God.