clavilux

Clavilux is the term coined by the artist Thomas Wilfred to refer to his mechanical invention that allowed the creation and performance of Lumia.

Charles Dockum called his light organ a MobilColor.

Mary Hallock-Greenewalt called her light organ a Sarabet.

From Latin, Clavilux means "Light played by key."

Wilfred built his first Clavilux, Model A from March to May 1919. It was 6ftx6ft. The distance between clavilux optics and projection surface is equal to the height of the resulting projection. The best place to view the lumia is to be seated in a row two feet behind the clavilux.

It has been described as a soup can of polished stainless steel that rotates in front of an illuminator, and has a dent in it (the dent is very important—the jealously gaurded secret) which creates the "smokey" effect.

He built 16 smaller home models which he called "Clavilux Juniors." There are 7 known to be extant, most of which are in private collections.

While Wilfred intended the term to refer to any device that could be used to perform Lumia, the name Clavilux was not widely adopted by other artists working with light. As such the term is closely associated with Wilfred and his mechanical vocabulary. The only other artist known to have built a Clavilux is W. Christian Sidenius, who was an ardent fan and later good friend of Wilfred's. Sidenius built a theatre behind his home to house his Clavilux and host Lumia recitals during the summer months.

Two full sized Clavilux, Model E, (1924) and Model G (1936) were rescued in 2003. [http://www.clavilux.org], a not for profit has been formed to restore the Model E to working condition and plans on public recitals as soon as the machines are functional.

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