The Armonia is one of the group of musical instruments known as "idiophones," which is simply an instrument which creates sound primarily by way of the instrument vibrating itself, without the use of strings or membranes. The Armonica is a set of graduated bowls with holes and corks in the center, mounted on a horizontal spindle, rotated by a fly wheel and a foot pedal. Moistened fingers rub the edges to produce the haunting sound.
By the mid-1800's, it suddenly lost its popularity, and gradually vanished. Superstitious rumors ran wild. Armonicas were said to drive performers mad, and evoke spirits of the dead because of its eerie and haunting sound. There was a rebirth of interest in 1982 through the efforts of the late master glass blower named Gerhard Finkenbeiner, of Waltham, Massachusetts, and more recently, because of the increased accesibility of information via the Internet, the Armonica has reached into the 21st century.
If you'd like to try playing the Armonica there is a virtual version here.