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Replica of the Hooke-Boyle Air Pump of About 1660, by Fellows & Darby, Birmingham, 1926

Inventory Number: 66493
Object Type:
Place Created: England United Kingdom Europe
Accession Number: 1926-85
Brief Description: Replica based on Boyle's 'Pneumatic Engine', the first of his three air-pumps, and is described in his New Experiments, Physico-Mechanical, touching the Spring of Air and its Effects (Oxford, 1660). Brass fittings, thick-walled glass sphere, and wooden stand.

The pump, which owed much to the practical skill of Robert Hooke, was an improvement on Otto von Guericke's model, the large glass bulb having an opening at the top so that experiments could be carried out in vacuo. The bulb was cemented into a cone fitted with a stopcock, and this in turn fitted the top of the cylinder. Operation of the oiled leather piston was by means of a crank working a rack-and-pinion. The original pump was almost certainly used for his pneumatic experiments in his laboratory in the High Street, Oxford.

The replica was made for the Museum by Fellows & Darby, 'Pattern and Model Makers', of Snow Hill, Birmingham, who made various other replica instruments in the early days of the Museum. Their letter of quotation (January 29, 1926) describes it thus: "ONE Working Model of Boyle's First Air Pump, including 16" diameter glass flask, 4" brass stopper at top, brass tap, brass cylinder 3" bore with leather piston, brass ratchet and pinion, all mounted on an oak stand, the whole when fitted to be about 36" high, £12-12-0 (Twelve guineas) Nett.".
Primary Inscriptions:
Provenance: Made for the Museum in 1926.
Collection Group:
Material(s): Glass