The Calliope came into being in the mid 19th century. In the age of steam, the steam calliope was particularly employed on riverboats and in circuses. In both cases, a steam supply was already available for other purposes. The sound was provided by the railroad steam whistle. Today small whistles are sounded by compressed air.

The riverboat Delta Queen has a full sized steam Calliope which covers the rear end of the upper deck.


A circus Calliope in a wagon. The wagon was pulled by a steam traction engine and might have a trailer behind it.


A small Calliope using compressed air and small whistles.


This Busker Organ sounds and operates like an air blown Calliope. One hand blows the air and the other turns the drum that plays the organ, like a player piano.