Thursday, July 16, 2009

Water Fountain Sound

The Fountaineer has been resting, visiting and doing some local sight-seeing with an out of town visitor. One of the local stops was a store selling various items, including indoor water fountains. Now, being the Fountaineer, I decided to check them out. This is not unusual for me, but I was unprepared for what I noticed on this occasion.

Sound. I have previously addressed this issue within the general context of its masking benefits and that is how I generally relate to fountain sounds. I also have an awareness of sound as it is influenced by the environment in which it occurs. However, even with this awareness and knowledge, I was stopped in my tracks at the quality of sound I heard from one of the smaller fountains – a deep resonance that seemed amplified by the configuration of the reservoir.

The shape of the reservoir, a pot-like container, performed wonderful aural magic that really caught me off guard. Keep in mind that there were several other identical fountains of the same and larger sizes that were all producing their sounds at the same time, so the manner in which this particular unit stood out deserved some additional attention.

When I gave a closer look, I found that the amount of water in that unit’s reservoir was very different from the others. There was less of it! That difference seemed to have created a larger area within the container in which the sound was shaped.

Such a simple, but noticeable, difference! Upon returning home, I began to play with my fountains. I manipulated their flow rates and reservoir levels and by doing so, rediscovered my fountains’ aural capabilities from an aesthetic perspective.

So, I encourage all fountain owners to do the same from time to time and explore every aspect of their fountain's full range of sounds. Like the Fountaineer, you may be surprised and pleased by the outcome.

Hey! I've noticed that more followers have joined the site. Welcome to y'all. I encourage comments, questions and suggestions and would enjoy hearing from you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fountain destination - Versailles +

Hello. Thank you for joining the Fountaineer for today's trip to Versailles. And, surprise!, after Versailles we will be taking a bonus side trip to another Fountain Destination, Hellbrunn Palace, in Austria before ending our June Travels.

I hope you've remembered to include your portable water fountain because at the end of the journey today you'll probably need the relaxing abmbience of flowing water to help you relax and unwind.

Versailles. The playground of French Royalty and guests in the 15th & 16th centuries. (Photo L- Túrelio, R - Nicolas 555) Originally the area was relatively dry and water had to be brought into the grounds to supply the water fountains and the water-powered robotics. This was accomplished via importing water via construction of miles of canals and networks of pipes over several decades at the cost of over a million human lives and a sizeable chunk of the Royal coffers.

The end result was that at its peak, the Versailles water features were powered by more water each day than was consumed by the entire city of Paris during the same 24 hour period! (Photos T - Simdaperce, B - Remi Jouan) Very little of the original variety of water features remain but the survivors are still-impressive, fully-functioning works of art.

(Photos: L - Gunther Hissler. R - Urban) The Versailles robotics-human figures, etc, powered by hydraulics were marvelous examples of the Europeans' sense of playfulness regarding water features. Unfortunately, very few examples of this technology has survived over the centuries. The wonderful exception is Hellbrunn Palace.

After its construction in the late 15th century, with its water features widely known at that time, guests were delighted, surprised, and frequently dampened by Hellbrunn's famous trick fountains. A foundation was set up to maintain the features in their original condition and this effort & tradition continues today. I have included a video presentation for Hellbrunn because still piictures simply cannot do it justice. Enjoy:

Well, now it's time for a good and hearty meal, Austrian-style, and then some unwinding time with the battery-operated water fountain in the hotel room.

When you return home, turn on your indoor water fountain and think about all its cousins you've had an opportunity to see during our travels. Your home water fountain with all its wonderful benefits is the product of the application of today's technology to the centuries of technological and design ideas from around the world. Remember to ppreciate its rich history and enjoy your multi-tasking object d'art.

July will be more laid-back time when I'll be offering some musings, thoughts and reflections on the water fountain. I hope you'll join me, then.