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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:53 pm 
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I have found at least three references to vaudeville performers playing tunes on "the coffeepot." Back in the 2nd half of the 19th century. The best description I have seen of it is from Francis O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians, p. 261:

"On the stage [of his saloon in New York City, circa 1890, Thomas F.] Kerrigan played the pipes to the accompaniment of a piano from four to six o'clock every afternoon. He varied this, however, with an occasional tune on the "coffeepot." This clown instrument consists of a tall, rather slim coffeepot, with a teapot-like spout on the side. Holes are punched in the tin opposite the spout, to correspond with the holes of a tin flageolet soldered within. The player blows through the spout, and fingers the tune on the holes in the coffeepot."

Has anyone ever seen one of these contraptions? Heard about them? Know any more about them? Sharing this info would be deeply appreciated.

I'd like one, and was thinking about making one. The more I thought about how to actually design and construct one the more complicated it got.

Regards,

Nick Whitmer
Ithaca, NY


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:48 am 
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While I have never seen one of these, I can imagine what it would (roughly) looked like. I took a tin-smithing class that I would highly recommend. Introduction to tin-smithing (or tin 1). Classes just wrapped up for the year, but are given at Historic Eastfield Village (rennselaer county) every year from June- August. In tin 1, you make a coffee pot as well as 4 or five other objects throughout the week. The coffee pot is the last object you make in the class, as it is the most complicated. My teacher was kind enough to help me reverse engineer a tin whistle, which I did in my free time. I will ask him if he has ever seen one of these contraptions. Feel free to contact me for any more info. I have had difficulty posting pictures here, otherwise I would show you some of the ideas I had.

Nick Lawler
Coeymans, NY


Last edited by nicx66 on Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:03 am 
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Sounds similar to an ocarina
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:18 am 
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Seems like a lot of work for a novelty/laugh instrument,but let us know when/if you unveil it publicly.

Greetings from Seneca St!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:56 pm 
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Location: Behind the anthracite and shale curtain.
I use to play my friends hall china teapot
as a trumpet. Another variation was to
play the overtone series with a bass dulcian
reed and bocal stuck in the spout.
Not quite the same as a whistle of course.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:39 am 
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Reading that description a second time, it seems likely that it's just an old tin whistle (like a clarke), actually soldered inside - so the "coffee pot" is just a shell around the whistle. Likely there's a tube or something soldered down to the fipple to direct the air to the tinwhistle. You could use a rubber hose for instance...

Extrapolating, you could fit all of Packie Manus Byrne's bagpipe-whistle inside a suitably sized contraption... that'd be interesting!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:24 am 
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Thanks everyone for your observations & insights.

A friend sent me this image of a postcard. He found the image on the Web, on a site based in the United Kingdom which tracks recent auction sales. I know nothing else about the postcard (date, origin, etc.).

This is pretty much what I expected the coffeepot to look like. I cannot deny that the clowns creep me out a little bit.

Nick

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:06 pm 
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Wow that clown on the left looks like he's got a whistle attached to a boot jack...? Krazy stuff, those clowns!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:14 pm 
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I made a few prototypes from large tin cans; proof of concept. Then a friend, Nick Lawler, made a working coffeepot. Here is a link to a video of me playing it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXGlGW-NTs

And a link to such historical info as I have found about the instrument:

http://www.whitmerpipes.com/coffeepot.html

Nick


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:38 pm 
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Very nice, I enjoyed the coffeepot video very much! :D

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:52 am 
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Definitely funny, and good, too!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Nick's recordings on his prototypes amazed me and inspired us both. Hearing the jigs played that way reminded me of early Furey brothers recordings where percussion included sheet iron/spoons/ tin beer trays, etc. When I saw Nick's full set of Taylor bagpipes that he lovingly restored to their full potential, I knew that we could make the coffee-pot. Building it presented a whole set of challenges, using period-correct tools, but we found our way. I still hold out hope that an original one is floating around somewhere.


Last edited by nicx66 on Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:28 pm 
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Chifmunk wrote:
Wow that clown on the left looks like he's got a whistle attached to a boot jack...?

The most utterly unlikely of the three, isn't it.

Great job on reproducing the coffeepot whistle! Although I keep telling myself, But it doesn't sound like a coffepot... (whatever that means :boggle:).

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Have you tried playing that in the car
steering with yer knee like the old days?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:48 pm 
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Not my cup of tea. :lol:

Sorry, I couldn't think of any coffee tunes.


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