The Great Stalacpipe Organ

The Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns was invented in 1954 by Mr. Leland W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronics engineer at the pentagon. During a tour of this world famous natural wonder, Mr. Sprinkle watched in awe as a tour guide produced an unusual musical tone while tapping the ancient stone formations with a small mallet. Mr. Sprinkle was inspired to create an electronic rendition of this sound in a more refined manner, through the means of a most unique instrument.​

He began his monumental three-year project by searching the vast chambers of the caverns, tapping potential formations with aide of 13 English tuning forks. Stalactites were selected from over 3 ½ acres. They were then painstakingly altered to precisely match a musical scale and to become part of what would eventually be known as the world’s largest musical instrument. ​

Electronic mallets were wired throughout the caverns and connected to a large four-manual console. When a key was depressed, an audible tone occurred as the rubber-tipped plunger struck the stalactite, which was tuned to the concert pitch. ​

Today, the organ is played by activating an automated system which works in a manner similar to a child’s music box. The organ is also fully capable of being played manually from a console, as Leland Sprinkle did for many years. ​

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