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probably made in Edinburgh

Postcard of Apparatus.
© National Museums Scotland


This apparatus was made in the late 19th century, probably by Morton of Edinburgh, a brass founder and instrument maker. The 'windmill', placed inside the jar on an air pump, can be activated by the brass handle on top.

By the mid 19th century, a range of experiments was especially devised to take place within a bell jar, with the air being either evacuated or the pressure increased. This is evidently such a piece.

Other items used in conjunction with the air pump were the Magdeburg hemispheres, and the guinea-and-feather apparatus. This particular piece appears to have been made in Edinburgh, although it is not known for whom. Alexander Morton appeared in the Edinburgh street directories between 1832 and 1846 at various addresses, and was succeeded by Morton & Co. who vanished after 1851.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-183-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.8.9
Date: Late 19th century
Material: Glass jar
What: Air pump / experiment, windmill
Subject: 22. PHYSICS (Departmental Classification)
13. PNEUMATICS, Experimental (Departmental Classification)
Who: Morton, Edinburgh (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Air pump or 'windmill experiment' by Morton, Edinburgh, late 19th century
  • Bryden, D.J. Scottish Scientific Instrument Makers 1660-1900. Edinburgh, 1972. p 54 
  • Turner, G. L'E., Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments. London: 1983, pp 96-108, chapter 6 'Pneumatics' 
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