Thunder-Making Machine, Egypt,Greece, 100 CE

by Amanda Fox, '00


Used in Greek theater to announce the entrances and exits of the gods, the original thunder-making machine was invented by Heron of Alexandria in the first century CE. Pulling the lever opens a trap door which allows numerous brass balls to cascade down a series of shelves and onto a tin sheet. Originally made on a larger scale than the one shown here, Heron's thunder-making machine resonated with deep bass tones when the balls were released.

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