Hemispheres, Known as Magdeburg hemispheres

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made in England

Postcard of Hemispheres, Known as Magdeburg hemispheres.
© National Museums Scotland

Hemispheres, Known as Magdeburg hemispheres

These brass hemispheres, known as Magdeburg hemispheres, were used to demonstrate features of atmospheric pressure. They were made in England in the 19th century and are unsigned.

When used in demonstration, the hemispheres are placed together and the air pumped out. The external atmospheric pressure outside makes them very difficult to separate.

The hemispheres are named after Otto von Guericke (1602-86) of Magdeburg in Germany, who was the first to perform this demonstration described in 1657.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-657-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.8.19
Date: 19th century
Material: Brass
What: Magdeburg hemisphere
Subject: 22. PHYSICS (Departmental Classification)
13. PNEUMATICS, Experimental (Departmental Classification)
Where: England
Germany, Magdeburg
Description: Pair of brass Magdeburg hemispheres, unsigned, England, 19th century
  • Described by Turner, G. L'E., Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments. London: 1983, p 97 
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