Air pump (2 of 2)

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probably made in Germany

Postcard of Air pump (2 of 2).
© National Museums Scotland

Air pump (2 of 2)

This double-barrelled air pump was made in the 19th century, probably in Germany. It was used to demonstrate experiments in a glass bell jar, where the air pressure had been diminished.

The pump is pictured here showing its double handle, which works the two pistons which can be seen in the twin glass barrels. These are connected by a tube to the table, seen behind, on which rests a glass bell jar (not shown), sealed down with lubricating oil. From below the table is suspended a mercury manometer in a glass tube, which indicates the degree of vacuum. Beside it is a brass key which acts as a valve, blocking or unblocking the passage of air into the bell jar.

The double-barrelled table model was the most commonly-used form of air pump for demonstration and teaching at the beginning of the 19th century, and did not change much in its form for much of that time. This example is typical of the period.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-250-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.8.1
Date: 19th century
Material: Glass cylinders
What: Pump, air
Subject: 22. PHYSICS (Departmental Classification)
13. PNEUMATICS, Experimental (Departmental Classification)
Where: Germany
Description: Double-barrelled air pump with glass cylinders, possibly German, 19th century
  • Turner, G. L'E., Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments. London: 1983, pp 96-108, chapter 6 'Pneumatics' 
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