Browse Items (54 total)

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These light bulbs were manufactured around 1905. They can be dated by the construction of the filament.  To learn more about antique light bulbs, visit this link to the  SCHENECTADY MUSEUM.

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The simplest type of balance, the equal-arm, or beam, balance, is an application of a lever. A uniform bar, the beam, is suspended at its exact center on a knife-edge set at right angles to it. The point of support is called the fulcrum. Two pans of…

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This picture should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise to show how the instrument was actually used. This kinetoscope was manufactured by Edison Mfg, Co, Orange, N.J., USA. around 1902. Continuous 35mm film wrapped around the reel, and turning the crank…

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Manufactured about 1920 by Voigtländer & Sohn AG of Braunschweig, Germany.  A folding plate camera using a 6x9cm film back. It has a Voigtländer Anastigmat Voigtar 105mm f/6.3 lens set in a IBSOR DDR shutter made by AGC and having the AGC…

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This gimbaled, eight-day marine chronometer is a deck clock made by Waltham in Waltham, Massachusetts, made around 1910. The mount is to keep the clock face horizontal even if the box (and ship) roll in various ways.  A glass plate covered the…

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A vacuum pump is a device that removes gas from a sealed volume in order to leave behind a partial vacuum. The first vacuum pump was invented in 1650 by Otto von Guericke. This 19th century pump is made of brass.

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"The “Fountain in Vacuo” is a perfectly delightful and entertaining 19th century demonstration that is never done today. Volume 1 of Pike’s Illustrated Catalogue of Optical, Mathematical and Philosophical Instruments (New York, 1856) describes…

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This picture shows the electrical experimentation room in Reid Hall around 1900. The tangent galvanometer visible in the picture above had been moved and can be seen at the right. Just to the left of it is the Kelvin current balance still in the…

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This picture was taken around the year 1900. The laboratory room was in the attic of Reid Hall and was heated by a potbelly stove. On the right is a good example of a large vacuum pump that resembles those sold in the 1850's by Chamberlain of Boston.…

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This model shows a geometric surface called a hyperboloid of one sheet. It was used in mathematics and architecture classes. The wires are straight lines. For any point on the surface, there are two straight lines lying entirely on the surface which…

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A mathematical instrument for laying down and measuring angles on paper, used in drawing or plotting.

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An optical instrument used to measure angles in surveying, meteorology, and navigation. The earliest theodolite consisted of a small mounted telescope that rotated horizontally and vertically. Washington and Lee taught surveying in the mid-19th…

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An instrument with a movable pointer used for mechanical measurements of the area of an (irregular) plane figure.

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Chemists, and other people who do careful weighings, know that we live at the bottom of a sea of air, and that a buoyant force equal to the weight of the air displaced by our bodies acts upward on us. Alas, the density of air is small, and the…

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A sextant is used in nautical navigation measure the angle between two visible objects. The angle, and the time it was measured, can be used to calculate a position line on a nautical or aeronautical chart. A common use of the sextant is to sight the…

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The name derives from the Greek word “to cheat”. The essential component of this device is a glass disk upon which are arranged figures radially, representing a moving object in successive positions. On turning the disk, and projecting a light…

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Analytical balances are accurate and precise instruments for weighing chemical samples. They require a dust-free and draft-free location on a solid bench that is free of vibrations. The samples must be measured at room temperature to prevent natural…

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The galvanometer is a current measuring device. Gustav H. Wiedemann's version of the galvanometer was developed in 1874. The coils on either side of the suspended needle could be moved back and forth to change the sensitivity, and a series of coils,…

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Kaleidoscopes operate on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are attached together. There are three rectangular lengthwise mirrors. Setting the mirrors at a 45 degree angle creates eight duplicate images of the objects, six at…

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A tachometer (revolution-counter, Tach, rev-counter, RPM gauge) is an instrument measuring the rotation speed of a shaft or disk, as in a motor or other machine. The device usually displays the revolutions per minute (RPM) on a calibrated analogue…

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Prisms have been standard laboratory equipment since Isaac Newton used one in 1666 to study the nature of the spectrum. Most or all of these prisms were made by Duboscq in Paris.

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When the large center disk, made of non-conducting material with metallic strips attached, was turned using a hand crank, fixed metallic brushes rubbed against the metallic strips causing them to become charged. The charge was drawn off and collected…

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This was the culmination of over a century of development of current-measuring instruments which relied on the interaction of currents with static magnetic fields. These instruments were mounted on a solid wall to prevent vibration, and a telescope…

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When this device is connected between two points in a circuit, it measures the relative voltage between the points by passing current through a coil of many turns of fine wire which, in turn, causes the needle to deflect.  

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The basic discharger is simply a conductor used to discharge a Leiden jar. The two arms are spread apart at the hinged joint, and the insulated handle prevents the operator from receiving a shock as the knobs are touched against the outer foil and…

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The Leyden jar is the earliest form of the condenser or capacitor. The jar allowed the electric charge produced by an electrostatic machine (for instance) to be accumulated and stored for future use. The first jars were made independently in 1745 by…

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This is a demonstration device showing two aspects of electric charge. When the conducting sphere atop the vertical stand is charged (e.g. by using a Leyden jar) the horizontal pinwheel device at the top begins to spin as charge is leaked from its…

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The Magdeburg hemispheres are a pair of large copper hemispheres with mating rims. When the rims were sealed with grease and the air was pumped out through the valve below the lower hemisphere, the lowered pressure within the sphere made it very…

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The telegraph was invented by the artist and scientist Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), who conceived the idea of the printing telegraph during an ocean voyage to Europe in 1832. The actuation of an electromagnet in the receiver would cause a…

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The tangent galvanometer is a current measuring device. It was first described in an 1837 paper by Claude-Servais-Mathias Pouillet (1790-1868), who later employed this sensitive form of galvanometer to verify Ohm's law. To use the galvanometer, it is…
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