If you have two minutes, I think you'll find it well-spent by the end of this clip. Recommendation: After you click Play, click the full screen button (lower right corner, next to the YouTube logo).
Some discussion over on Harvard's Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations site, filed under Pendulum Waves. It is claimed that the first one of these cool things was built by Ernst Mach, in about 1867.
(h/t: KK, via email)