Red Devil Guide to Making Noisemakers

January 10, 2004

If you've been around Lincoln County fans prior to or during Red Devil football games during the last two decades or so, you've certainly heard the noisemakers that some bring to the games.

How have these noisemakers evolved over the years? Our crack Noisemaker Research & Development Department, headed by REDDEVILHEAT with designer/fabricator G2 and head noisemaker tester G1, started improving these simple devices.

In the early 1980's, horns powered by cans of compressed air were prevalent. You had to be sure to bring extra cans for those really intense games. Sometimes these were not powerful enough to satisfy the die-hard Devil fan, so they started bringing battery-powered horns to games.

But even these were not strong enough for the big games, as the noise level dropped as the batteries grew weak. So, on at least one occasion, an enterprising fan ran electrical wires from their truck parked just outside the fence, over the fence and to their seat on the top row of the stands, and wired up a big horn. This certainly wasn't UL-approved, but it also certainly was LOUD!!!

This year the air-horn got a supposed improvement, with a manually-powered pump added to keep the noise coming and to keep costs down as compressed air has gotten fairly expensive. G1 tested the new-fangled device prior to this year's Twiggs County game, as shown below.

About 10 years ago, the cheerleaders introduced the plastic jug noisemakers.

The first plastic jugs used corn to make the noise, but the corn was ground into cornmeal by the time the game was over, thanks to the excited Devil fans. Other botanicals, including peas, were tried, but they also failed to survive a single game.

After much experimentation, our design team found the solution: pennies! They found, through scientific analysis and experimentation ("trial and error"), that exactly 15 pennies in a gallon jug produced the optimum noise. A penny more or a penny less dropped the sound level by enough to be noticed by our design team's auditory sensory arrays. These advanced devices are equipped with a customized sealer system to prevent the pennies from escaping out the mouth of the jug. (This grey, plastic tape-like substance is also thought to be good for everything but sealing ducts.)

But, alas, a new problem was found at the Dome. Under extreme excitement, the operator of the noisemaker exerted so much agitating energy to the jug that the pennies wore out the bottom of the jug and became projectiles!! Some pennies ended up on the new Dome turf, while some found bombarded Red Devil fans. Those were not "pennies from heaven" that hit you in the head! In the worst case, only four of the original 15 pennies remained in one of the six jugs used that morning.

Oh well, back to the drawing board for our design team!!

But wait -- new competition showed up at the State Title Game in Hawkinsville. The CheerDevil NoiseMaking Coalition, led by Denise Hamrick, has originated a new noisemaker design. This newly-engineered device is based on a cookie tin, and was initially tested (somewhat secretly) in the Dome. This new design was quickly moved from testing to full production for the Title Game, as our researcher found that you could not find a cookie tin to buy in Lincolnton just before the trip to Hawkinsville. And the crowd in Hawkinsville sure was noisy!

January updates

And now we're getting suggestions from opposing camps! Don Hill from Commerce offered this info:

"After consulting the Mark's Handbook for Mechanical Engineers and the Acoustic Engineers Resource Book, as well as several of my fellow Commerce Tiger (yes, COMMERCE TIGER) fans, I have this solution to the noisemaker reliability issue. Instead of pennies which have a fairly sharp edge, use ball bearings. They are heavy and produce a nice deep thud and they are smooth, so they will not abrade the interior surface of the polymer lactin storage units (milk jugs). Use balls between 3/16" and 3/8" diameter for best effect. Large balls .. place undue impact loading on the gray adhesive ribbon and could cause catastrophic disassembly of the closure device, or due to the weight of the entire unit, could result in repetitive motion injury (carpal tunnel). If the somewhat muffled cacaphony is not annoying enough for you, you may resort to BBs, which require a greater number of the collision agents, but are cheap, readily available and will provide a higher pitched clamor. Please feel free to experiment with variations on this theme. I provide this information free of charge and am not responsible for any damage, injury, lawsuit, hernia or spilled milk (don't cry). ... Take care, Tradition. Love the web site! Hope to hear your noisemakers when you guys come to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium in '04! Congrats on the great run this year...."

Chief Designer REDDEVILHEAT reviewed these suggestions and offered his, uhh, expert opinion:

"The comments from the Commerce guy are pretty good ones. I did try some BB's in a 1/2 gallon jug some time ago and it just didn't have the loud sound effect. I also thought of some ball bearings but they are not the easiest to get either. I just need a new type trumpet horn that sounds really like a true "Air Horn". The 12 volt battery holds up fine but sometimes the little compressor gets too hot and it has to cool down a little before it will blow again. The other downside is........My right arm is now 8" longer than my left one because of me toting the heavy weight battery hidden inside my travel bag."

Everyone now has until September to submit their new designs. Hey, we'll even provide a prize for the loudest noisemaker at the first home game of 2004.