The Podcast - The Strange Wax Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes
The Strange Copper Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes has a companion podcast series, The Strange Wax Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes. It is hosted by our media partner, rabble.ca on the rabble podcast network. Look for a new episode each Monday starting on August 22. The podcast is an old time radio drama. It features the adventures of Thaddeus Barnes years before he buried his copper cylinders. Barnes, his loyal servant Whitby, his daughter Phillipa and his friend and rival Nikola Tesla fight the powers of evil in a young Canada. It is not at all vital to listen to the podcast to solve the clues, but there are a few hints here and there that might be a little helpful.
The Cast of Characters
Eccentric Canadian inventor who made a small fortune with minor household appliance inventions. His real genius lay in his understanding of atomic particle interactions. He developed an electron compressor at his Port Hope, Ontario lab. Even up until the time of his death in 1912 the electron compressor held great promise as a means of storing incredible electrical energy in a small space. But, that promise was never fully realized as the compressor was highly unstable and could act as a destructive weapon. It was that destructive power that made it so attractive to Barnes' enemies. Barnes hid the secrets of the electron compressor and other research projects in a safe. He stored parts of the key to the safe in six copper cylinders he buried across Canada. Barnes had three children by his wife, Vanessa. Vanessa died of influenza after visiting Russia in 1889 during the flu pandemic there.
The brilliant and willful daughter of Thaddeus Barnes. Phillipa has two brothers but she was by far her father's favourite. Phillipa was an early feminist and fought for the rights of women and their place in scientific research until her untimely death in 1912. She is not only a mathematical savant, she is a gifted Chinese martial artist and an expert with the tonfa, a fighting baton she conceals in her skirts. She, like her two brothers and dozens of other passengers, perished on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, in 1912, a month after her father's death.
Barnes' trusted assistant. Whitby fought in the Boer War as a major in the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry. He lost an arm during battle and almost died from septiciema. However, Barnes asked Whitby to participate in a novel experiment. He replaced Whitby's damaged arm with a mechanical one. The new limb was stronger and faster than a human limb. Whitby communicates with it via paired germanium crystals in the prosthetic and his arm stump. After his honourable discharge from the army Whitby obtained training in practical electricity and became Barnes' loyal assistant. He and Phillipa had a budding romance curtailed by Phillipa's death.
Nikola Tesla, a historical figure, is a remarkable Serbian inventor and a friend and rival of Barnes. Like Barnes, Tesla is more adept at understanding science than human nature. Tesla was ill-used by Westinghouse, who used Tesla's patents to build the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. Tesla built a leading edge electrical lab at Wardenclyffe on Long Island. He also experimented with the wireless transmission of electricity in a lab near Colorado Springs.
Thomas Russell is a lifelong friend of Barnes and the owner of the Russell Motor Car Company. Russell's company produced an electric car in 1903, but gave up on the venture to produce traditional gas-powered vehicles. During WWI Russell shifted his company to munitions manufacturing, a move that alienated his pacifist friend, Thaddeus Barnes.
The Strange Wax Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes was written and produced by Wayne MacPhail. Voices by Paul Benedetti, Kelsey Johnson, Barbara Ledger, Wayne MacPhail and Michael Myers. Theme music by Wayne MacPhail.
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