Rabbit Hole - Vintage Light Show Effects #001


Two early, circa 1971, effect cassettes made with steel ball races. As these bearings were made primarily for military use, either end of the control shaft on the Harrier jump jet, only excess production was made available in the public sector.

We scoured bearing merchants across the country to find them. One of them, David Garnett, came up with the idea of moulding them out of plastic, Kemetal, and formed Bearings Non-lube to produce them for us. We were his first customer and our custom helped establish his business. The applications for plastic bearings are many and David went on to run a very successful business winning Queens awards.

On the left is a polarising effect, the bearing is one of the more expensive varieties with an oil seal. The right hand one is the basic bearing. The white bubbles in the liquid effect are not air but mercury. This was rotated at high speed, by putting a drive wheel on a spindle in the chuck of an electric drill, behind a kaleidoscope lens. The mercury would be flung to the edge by centrifugal force and then smash violently through the other liquids causing an eyegasm on screen.

Neil Rice 2020 (Ono Yasumaro’s, Krishna Lights, Optikinetics, Liquid Light Orchestra, Odd Light Show)

Vintage effect cassettes