C is for Calliope
First of all Calliope was one of the lively daughters of Zeus.
She was the eldest of the Muses, the goddesses of music, song and dance. Calliope was the goddess of eloquence, who bestowed her gift on kings and princes, and the mother of Orpheus. In the picture below look for the Muse playing the Lyre, or carrying a scroll. - that would be Calliope
As we approach modern times (relatively speaking) the calliope has a nice ring to it and speaks to us of fun and fairs and riverboats. Nowadays a calliope is a mechanical musical instrument that produces a sound by sending gas, or steam or compressed air through large whistles. In the age of steam a calliope was a most convenient instrument in any place where a steam supply was available for other reasons, - it does not make gentle music and neither is it capable of nuances of emotion, but its merry, rather raucous music, is perfect for steamboats and carousels out in the open air where it can be heard for miles. On a steamboat the excess steam is used for pumps and various anciliary apparatus. "When a steam plant is slowed to a stop steam pressure demand is reduced and the excess must be relieved somehow. They can either open a valve and release it in a loud roar, or they can pipe it to make music." (riverexplorer)
I had so much fun researching the whistles and keyboards that are all part of the calliope, - it seemed to me to be a part of America that interpreted so well her spirit in those years from the 1850's to the 1950's.
Joshua Stoddard of Massachusetts, patented the calliope in 1855, originally intending it to replace bells at churches, - if you want to learn more about their construction
Wikipedia has a wealth of information.
Unfortunately there are few steamboats left on the big rivers of America, but enjoy this sample of a Calliope, gaily decorated and blowing off steam in a musical fashion
Is there a carousel in your memories? One that housed a calliope and could be heard above all the noises of the fairground and will be forever associated with pink cotton candy and hot dogs, and when you were very small was a great and exciting adventure?
We have a calliope of sorts in our memories. Shortly after we were married we bought a 1933 yellow two seater with a rumble seat and wire wheels, - the perfect car with which to start a marriage, romantic and lighthearted and the prettiest yellow (and don't forget, with wire wheels!). On VJ day Charles attached an old four note whistle from a 1920's Essex car to the exhaust and created our own small calliope which we took to town and joined in the celebration.
There are more interpretations of C here, at ABC Wednesday, thanks to the generosity and hard work of the ABC crew and Mrs. Nesbitt.