Under the Big Top: the Circus in AmericaElephants line up

Calliope

Front gallery of the exhibit, The Circus in America

This discordant keyboard instrument is played like a piano. When a key is depressed a valve opens, and pressurized air or steam is shot through a series of whistles. Steam calliopes could weigh up to nine tons and heard from five miles away!

The pronunciation of "calliope" is normally "ka-LI-a-pee" but true circus people call it a "KAL-ee-OPE"!

 

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