Mojave Megaphone

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#1

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of Mojave Megaphone in Baker, California. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:


#2

When was it noticed first? How many years ago?


#3

I think it is probably a water pump of some sort, placed there as a sculpture. Maybe it was a model of a water pump. Maybe water transmission device is a better way to say that. I have seen a real large one on display formally used at a reservoir.


#4

If it is a water transmission device, it may have been placed their as part of a real estate scheme to demonstrate how water was going to be sent out to the development.


#5

Thus looks like a venturi flowmeter to me. Measuring the pressure difference across the waist would allow the flow rate to be calculated.

Definitely not a megaphone.


#6

If it’s water-related, that’s a strange place to find it. Not a whole lot of water in that area of the U.S. - and even less on top of a hill.

I remember finding practice bombs (inert bombs filled with concrete) out in the Mojave so having something to magnify alerts of some kind makes a bit of sense.

That, or artwork.


#7

I like to think that there are people strange enough that would hike out into the the middle of nowhere carrying animal skins that they would stretch over a metal dingus and play like a drum. Thats got to be the answer.


#8

My ‘late’ ex was assigned to NASA’s tracking station (as one of the sub-contractors) in the Mojave desert sometime during 1960’~1970’s. Perhaps this item was “one” of the equipment or pieces that were left there inadvertently. E.I.F.


#9

I agree with Duncan Batwing. I think it’s a venturi flow meter for measuring air velocity, a relict from the early days of developing the atomic bomb. Air velocity is determined measuring the pressure difference between the larger diameter section and the small diameter section. I can imagine that during nuclear weapons testing it would be important to collect all sorts of information related to the amount of energy generated from a nuclear blast. The physicists would need a very rugged device that could withstand a nuclear bomb and could be mounted securely at a high point with nothing blocking the flow meter.


#10

I could also have been a listening device. Before radar became commonly available, the US Army used similar devices to listen for approaching aircraft other motorized vehicles. This could have been set up by the army to test the sensitivity to detect such objects.


#11

Early attempt at this?


#12

I wonder if it emits sound when the wind blows.


#13

So what direction is it pointing…at anything in particular?


#14

A relic from WW2! Patton and his men practiced with their tanks in the area during the war.


#15

My husband is an astronomer that has worked with rockets. When I asked if it could be part of a rocket, he replied, “Looks like early rocket nozzle proto-types which could have been used in testing. Would help to see the inside to see if it was milled circularly, if the inside has rough edges it’s not likely a rocket part, although modern nozzles do have ridges I believe to enhance and distribute combustion. Interesting photo. Not sure how it would have
gotten to the Mohave desert though.”


#16

I sent him the reply about the venturi flowmeter and he agrees with that decision as more likely.


#17

Based on what I understand about the Mojave Dessert and work I did out at the military based there, I’m pretty sure it has to do with mining and more specifically it’s part of an old rotary air hammer drill set up.


#18

Ribo, I like the mining thing, makes sense.
No way is that nozzle from a rocket, too crude.
Still think it’s Gen. Patton’s megaphone so he could yell at his troops! He trained his tank troops all over the Mojave for a year or so.


#19

Looking at the material, attachment points, surface finish, and of course the location, looks to be more or less ‘home-made’ fabricated part of a cone crusher. ( see https://www.tec-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/en-steel-making-animation-cone-crusher.gif ). Depending on the characteristics of the rock, the shallowness of this one looks to be for something fairly soft like talc, salt, gypsum, etc.


#20

I agree that it looks like a Venturi Tube, but perhaps an old one was placed on the rocks as a sort of art installation.

You can see a Venturi Tube here:
http://fairflowcontrols.com/portfolio/venturi-tube-2/