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Electrical machine

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probably made in Aberdeen

Postcard of Electrical machine.
000-100-102-663-C
© National Museums Scotland

Electrical machine

This early 'frictional electrical machine' was made around 1820, probably by William Lunan, a watchmaker based in Aberdeen between around 1824 and 1833.

Static electricity is generated by the leather pad pressing against the revolving glass globe, which is turned by turning the handle.

In classical antiquity, the Greeks were aware that rubbed amber attracted small particles, and the word 'electricity' comes from the Greek for amber. In the early 18th century, apparatus was designed which evolved into the frictional electrical machine.


Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-663-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.29.7
Date: Around 1820
c. 1820
Material:
Dimensions:
What:
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Magnetism and Electricity (Departmental Classification)
8. ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, Static (Departmental Classification)
Who: William Lunan, Aberdeen (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen
Event:
Description: Old electrical machine with rotating globe, probably by William Lunan, Aberdeen, c. 1820
References:
  • Clarke, T.N., Morrison-Low, A.D. & Simpson, A.D.C., Brass & glass scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland as illustrated by instruments from the Arthur Frank Collection at the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh: NMS, 1989, pp 60, 152-3 
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