Spark discharger, part of electrical demonstration apparatus

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made in England

Postcard of Spark discharger, part of electrical demonstration apparatus.
© National Museums Scotland

Spark discharger, part of electrical demonstration apparatus

This spark discharger was used in conjunction with a static electrical machine, and was probably part of a demonstration device. By turning the handle on a static electric machine, sparks of electricity can be made to leap on to conducting material. At the end of such 'performances' the equipment must be made safe, and the electricity discharged. This device would achieve this.

Made of glass rods, with brass electrodes, this discharger stands on a wooden plinth, which is probably later than the item itself. It is unsigned, but typical of many of the accessories to be found with electrical kits which were sold at this time.

The electrostatic generator served a serious purpose, in that the investigation of its effects led to the establishment of theories of electricity. For the general public, it provided a variety of spectacular tricks for domestic entertainment.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-902-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.29.22
Date: 19th century
Late 19th century
What: Ball, spark experiment
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Magnetism and Electricity (Departmental Classification)
8. ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, Static (Departmental Classification)
Where: England
Description: Series of balls for spark experiments, on a stand, English, 19th century
  • For a general overview of static electrical apparatus at this time, see G.L'E. Turner, Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments. London, 1983, esp. ch. 11, 'Electricity', pp188-194. 
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