Braiding Rainbows

Many years ago I stayed with some friends who had some linoleum floor covering in their kitchen, the pattern of which was a kind of chequerboard made up of squares of many different colours.

"A friend told us that the patterns are based on bell ringing", I was told. I examined it closely, and although some of the coloured squares seemed to run in threads through the design, there was no possibility that it represented an actual bell ringing method of any kind. My hosts seemed a little disappointed. It got me thinking though, and I realised that it would certainly be possible to make a pattern of squares that stuck strictly to a bell ringing method. Such a design would necessarily be arranged in columns, of course, the width of which would depend on the number of bells. The choice of colours would be crucial too, one possibility would be to use highly contrasting colours so that any one bell's line would stand out against the rest. I mused about the possibility of using coloured tiles to illustrate bell ringing methods, but decided that such an arrangement would not look good as a floor covering, partly because there would be distinct stripes, assuming that the methods would be illustrating methods of only up to twelve twelve bells. So the idea got shelved and I thought nothing more about it for a few decades.

More recently, it occurred to me to write a "screensaver" that could accomplish something similar. I decided that it should be possible to choose from a number of different methods and also that there would be a different colour for each pixel across the screen. If the colours chosen roughly corresponded to rainbow colours, it would also be interesting to see how the colours jumbled themselves up and became sorted again. Because we know intuitively when rainbow colours are in rainbow order, and if that order represents "Rounds", it should be easy to tell when Rounds is reached again.The screensaver was duly written, for Windows PC only, and is available for download here.

Kent Treble Bob 1920, output from the screensaver.