A harmonograph is a machine that uses the motion of pendulums to create geometric shapes. Pattern variation is achieved though experimentation with the frequency and phase of the swinging pendulums relative to one another. These mechanical devices began to appear in the mid-19th century and peaked in popularity in the 1890s. Although the harmonograph cannot conclusively be attributed to a single person, Scottish mathematician, Hugh Blackburn, is commonly believed to be the official inventor. The drawings created are Lissajous curves, manifested as complex ellipses and hypnotizing spirals.
The harmonograph’s movements can be described mathematically with the following equations.
As I observe the gentle rhythm of the moving pendulums and listen the soft whir of pen gliding across paper, I meditate on the Universe’s elegant beauty and natural harmony. The Universe communicates with us in many ways. This is just one.