Located deep in the Luray Caverns in
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the
worlds largest musical instrument.
Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres
of the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when
electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets.
This most unique,
one-of-a-kind instrument was invented in 1954 by Mr. LeIand W. Sprinkle
of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronic scientist
at the Pentagon.
He began his monumental 3 year project by searching
the vast chambers of the caverns selecting stalactites to precisely
match a musical scale.
Electronic mallets were wired throughout
the caverns and connected to a large four-manual console.
key is depressed, a tone occurs as the rubber-tipped plunger strikes
the stalactite tuned to concert pitch.
For many years Leland played
the Stalacpipe Organ for visitors, as seen in the bottom left photo.
Close-up of one of the mallets which strike a stalactite when an
organ key is pressed.