Cary, Illinois, Minerva Springs - birthplace of Electra Weaver
Cary, Illinois, Minerva Springs - birthplace of Electra Weaver, 


Electra was born in a small town northwest of Chicago, named Cary, Illinois in 1889 at the edge of Minerva Springs near the Fox River.  His mother died while giving birth to him and his father Jonathon raised him with the help of his aunt Evelyn until Jonathon's death at the hands of a jealous lover of a showgirl he was defending outside of the pub where they both worked and he played piano at night.  Electra was 10 years old at the time and felt like he had to escape his Aunt and her plans to send him to boarding school. 

Electra Weaver's boyhood home Cary, Il
Electra Weaver's boyhood home Cary, Il

He and his dad were close, and Electra took it pretty hard.  He had learned so much from his dad and loved spending time with him at his day job where he ran the presses for Mr. Jacobs print shop.  It turns out Electra was very mechanically inclined at that young age and picked up things very quickly.


After his dad's death Electra ran away from home in a hurry,  and had to jump a train, unintentionally taking it through frigid temperatures to escape when a local bully and his friend confronted him in the street.  His pain from the loss of his dad, the cold, and extreme hunger led him to jump the train while it was still moving, thinking he could land on a train pump but he landed awkwardly and broke his collarbone.  He jumped up quickly in shock and fled into the woods to hide from the yard bulls near the trains. His vision was getting blurry and sometime later he passed out in the wild and came to in a small cave.


He was being taken care of by some native Americans who were on a reservation he had wandered onto.  He lived with them for awhile and learned many things from the old man he learned to call pap-pap.  Understanding the earth's relationship to the moon and the sun, how they weave a giant pattern in the sky year in and year out. How a great year came together through the seasons of the sun. 


The eternal turn of the clockwork of creation all came together for him in a weird way that resembled his understanding of the presses and machines.  The planet, moon, and sun all move like wheels of the presses but instead of churning out paper they turn out a three d figure-moving, motoring along in a thread of life, creating a fabric. A cloth woven of existence, thought and culture, a delicate dance of particles moving from unseen forces churning, swirling like sand in the waters of time. 

The knowledge imparted to him was a natural heritage considered sacred but lost on those he was forced to live with after his capture and shipment to Denver.  The arrest of his natural understanding came at the hands of new settlers whom thought he was being freed from servitude for the old man.

The settlers took him away from the small clan he had grown to love and put him in an orphanage in Denver. His time in the orphanage taught him a variety things but many were artificial and man made subjects.  Luckily, he knew how to run the presses that the orphanage used for their daily newspaper and he quickly made himself useful and even needed around there. 

A Denver orphanage that Electra Weaver attended in his youth
The Denver orphanage that Electra Weaver attended in his youth

He soon settled into a life of presses and typesets and school and choir.  He didn't care much for singing as a child but loved to see the massive organ that was in the church where they assembled.  He sought out every chance to be around the huge pipe organ and feel it move his body in deep tones and high pitches.  He began to become obsessed with the keyed instruments. moving a piano into the press room he would play it when he could get to it over jobs and typesetting.  His banging got better and better and he began to learn quickly what it took to sound good.

Not long after, his inquisitive mind got the best of him and he tinkered together an organ from old parts he had salvaged from around town.  The organ worked perfectly and because of its small size became the go to organ for small groups of practice and learning at the orphanage.  He could hardly stop there as he soon thought of more amazing things to create and build culminating in a crowning achievement for him, the press-strument.

A combination press and player piano that he threw together from spare parts is what it was really. The thing about this contraption is that it was synchronized, the sound with the print.  He has gotten old piano wire  and  surgical needles and bent them into seismographic tips, and then assigned different colors to each needle point which would twitch with the sounds of the striking piano keys.  After the whirly-gig got warmed up it was a whirring purring little missile of a whistle that would keep him rocking into the wee hours where he learned many mysteries of sound sculpting.

When he had the idea of putting lights on the press-wheels to flash while magnets kept it moving, things really got interesting...