Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt
1871 – 1951

The connection between the color organ, the idea of painting, and the handmade film is clearest in the case of Syrian-born pianist Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt, likely the first woman to create her own color organ. Greenewalt invented and patented a number of projection devices, including a color organ called the Sarabet, named after her mother, Sara Tabet. The Sarabet, created in 1919, was designed to flood an auditorium with colored light, and was a remarkably inventive design. It consisted of a rheostat that controlled the reflections …

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The Sarabet color organ