History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Electrical machine and accessories

The upright glass cylinder is rotated rapidly by gearing inside the brass box [1]. Popular with amateurs, this type of electrostatic generator was disliked by serious experimental philosophers. It was probably made by the noted London maker George Adams Jnr and sold on 16 October 1786 to Dr John Birch, author on electrotherapy, who founded an electrical department in St. Thomas' Hospital, London, in 1793.

The surviving accessories are a Lane electrometer mounted on Leyden jar [3]; a pair of medical directors [2, 4]; a mercury shower apparatus [5]; and a brass spanner [6].

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