- In the theater, a device used to create the sound of rain,hail, or waves (see sound effects). It was normallya large cylinder that could be filled with such items as pebbles,marbles, dried peas or beans, etc., to create a variety of differentsounds when rotated. The sound could also be varied by changing therotation speed. The device was popularized by the French stage designerPhilippe Jacques De Loutherbourg. A wind machine with a ribbeddrum could usually be converted into a rain machine when required.