Display case, 1994

Made:
1994 in South Kensington
maker:
Science Museum

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

1894-158 Pt1: Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816. This is part of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

1894-158 Pt1: Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816. This is part of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

1894-158 Pt1: Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816. This is part of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

1894-158 Pt1: Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816. This is part of
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Glazed mahogany case, made by Science Museum Workshops, London, England, 1994. Used to display part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816.

This is part of the early telegraph system that the inventor Sir Francis Ronalds installed in the garden in his house in Hammersmith. The wire is original, while the dial is a reconstruction. Ronalds used a line charged with static electricity, with a pair of pith balls at each end. Pith balls are small, lightweight objects that are good at picking up charges. When the line was charged, the two pith balls would move away from each other. When the line was earthed, they would drop. At each end of the line, there was also a dial, with the two being driven by clockwork at the same speed. The sender would discharge the line when the letter desired reached the top of the clockwork dial at one end. This caused the pith balls at the other end to drop, and allowed the receiver to see which letter they dropped at.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Cable

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Details

DisplayLocation:
Science Museum, Information Age Gallery: Cable
Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1894-158 Pt2
type:
exhibit case
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • case furniture
credit:
Donated by H.M. Postmaster General
status:
Permanent collection

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