A Catalogue of Instruments and Models in the Possession of the American Philosophical Society

By Robert P. Multhauf | Go to book overview

V
Apparatus for Physical Science and Medicine

The end of the eighteenth century was a period of prolific invention in the field of scientific instruments, and it may be supposed that the novelties brought back from Europe by philosophically inclined travelers were eagerly awaited. It seems probable that the hydrometer of Nicholson was received shortly after its introduction, perhaps from Nicholson's friend, Magellan, whose bequest to the Society in 1786 led to the establishment of a prize carrying his name. In 1803 Thomas Jefferson presented two novelties received from the continent, both of considerable interest. From Holland came an example of a device for sounding the sea (bathometer), newly invented and not to be patented for another year. From France came the apparatus of Guyton de Morveau for chlorine disinfection, a device which represented a landmark in antisepsis.


POCKET COMPASS

Mahogany block with inset compass and cover, 4" X 4" X ¾". Contemporary (?) inked inscription, "Belonging to the globes presented by W. & S. Jones, 18 April 1800."

The inscription is the only evidence for the origin of this compass, which is not mentioned in the Curator's Donation Book, and seems a rather surprising accession to the globes. It may be referred to in an illegible passage in Jones' letter of November 3, 1795. On this see item 58-40.

(58-33)


LENS

Made and donated by Mr. William Parker, London. 6 ½" double-convex lens in wooden frame. Unmarked. Received in 1784.

The identification of this specimen is conjectural. In 1784, along with his own donation of optical instruments, Samuel Vaughan presented two lenses 6 ½" and 11 ½" in diameter, in behalf of "Mr. Parker." Mention is made of a "stand with rackwork,

-26-

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A Catalogue of Instruments and Models in the Possession of the American Philosophical Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Early Museums of Instruments and Models 1
  • The American Philosophical Society 4
  • I - Apparatus for Astronomy, Geodesy, And Surveying. 8
  • II - Electrical Apparatus 16
  • III - Geographical Apparatus and Models 21
  • IV - Meteorological Apparatus 24
  • V - Apparatus for Physical Science and Medicine 26
  • VI - Mathematical Instruments and Models 34
  • VII - Mechanical Models 36
  • VIII - Agricultural Machinery 42
  • IX - Ship Models and Nautical Instruments 44
  • X - Timekeeping 49
  • XI - Heating Appliances 54
  • XII - Apparatus for the Graphic Arts 60
  • List of Specimens by Catalogue Number 63
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