Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Upcycling a Roly-Poly Bell

I have posted a replica of this piece in Mysorean Musings blog also.

In the mid 1960s, my grandfather handed over Twenty Rupees to his 'junior lawyer', Srinivasachar who was going to Madras [now Chennai] to bring some good toys or play things for my young brother.  Twenty rupees was a substantial sum in those days that could have got some really good toys but Srinivasachar returned with two Roly poly toys for a little fellow who had long outgrown the type of toy, despite knowing how old this boy was!  What a silly selection from him, the elders used to remark.  Even I thought so at that small age! The dolly toys went up into the showcase right away.  They were only taken out and given to little babies for playing when they visited our house.  The above is one of the two surviving toys, and was useful when babies of our own arrived, more than 25 years after Srinivasachar purchased.

The bell tones from the toy as it went 'weebly-wobbly' impressed me for their absolute pleasantness.  I badly wanted to see what was producing those bell tones inside.  I held it up against strong sunlight with a hope of seeing its shadow in it but could not.  The two 'hemispheres' were joined together, but it was out of my limits to attempt to open and close back. The only option was to break open, as was my wont.  

My joy knew no bounds when there was a crack near the joint, after many years, in the late 80s.  It did not matter how it developed, but it was a great delight to me.  Since there were two roly polys, I did not mind breaking one to satisfy my long standing curiosity!  Finally I gave in to the temptation.   What a joyful experience it was to break open with my own hands and lay them on the ting-tong mechanism!  In fact, I wanted to see this from the day it came!!

Picture: Beautiful!  It is something similar to those from a jukebox!
The ring is suspended in the centre to strike the steel wire-gongs when the doll changes its angle even slightly.  Different lengths will produce different frequency sounds. Absolute melody!

Now what to do with it?  It would not work outside the sealed doll!  So I wanted to do something just to bring back those bell tones.  I found that a packing cardboard cylinder made a perfect fit to this.  I closed its two ends, suspended the striker ring at its proper place and lo, ting tong was back, albeit with softer sound due to the cardboard.  
Roly poly bell was now in a different shell! 

After a few years it was baby time.  I discovered that the baby was also attracted to this sound.  So I suspended my new cylindrical creation to the cradle in such a way that when the baby beat her legs, it was serving like an alarm bell.  In this picture [click on it to magnify] it is kept on top of the cradle in idle position. This is the only photo I have.  It has to be left freely suspended outside to 'activate'.  This was another project I enjoyed thoroughly.

Someone gave her a new roly poly for her first birthday and this produces even better sound.

I am again curious to know the difference in technology from the 60s to the 90s! 

May ting tong ting tong.

The beautiful and meaningful song ಆಡಿಸಿ ನೋಡು ಬೀಳಿಸಿ ನೋಡು ಉರುಳಿ ಹೋಗದು from the movie Kasturi Nivasa features this weebly wobbly toy.  See this clip.


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