2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Air-Powered Doorbell Made From Train Whistle, Car Horn
The handy Rocheport, Mo., man set about building his own modified version, combining an antique car horn and a home made train whistle to simultaneously herald the arrival of visitors.
He bought the old horn at a flea market and uses a portable, compact shop vacuum to power it. The vacuum sits in his basement, with a 1 1/2-in. dia. pvc pipe connected to the "blow end." The pvc pipe brings the air up from the basement, through a hole in the porch floor, and to the home-built whistle through a manifold made from a 2 by 2 by 3-in. block of wood with holes drilled in it.
The whistle consists of four pieces of 1/2-in. dia. copper pipe with notches in them, and plugs in the ends to restrict the air.
"It took a little bit of adjusting to get it to work right," Peacock explains. "The old car horn takes a lot more air than the train whistle does, so I had to saw a small slot in the pvc pipe and make a little metal gate (a sliding valve) to restrict the train whistle's air. Otherwise, the train whistle went real shrill because it got too much air."
Just outside the front door, there's a pull chain with a walnut wooden handle, so visitors can ring the doorbell just like an engineer would pull the whistle chain on a locomotive.
Peacock put a spring on the chain so it has some give when it hits the stop, preventing people from breaking the switch (which consists of a lever that pushes a micro-switch inside a weatherproof electrical box.) The box is mounted outdoors, under the porch roof overhang.
The system runs on 110 volts.
"The car horn and the train whistle both blow, and although we can hear it in the house, it's not too loud," he explains. "It's the people outside ringing the bell who get the full benefit of its loudness. We've had delivery people scared out of their shoes with it. Anybody that comes and pulls it is really intrigued. Scaring peopleÓ that's part of the fun."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jean Peacock, 1350 S. Hickory Grove Schl. Rd., Rocheport, Mo. 65279 (ph 573 445-9129; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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