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WHEATSTONE, Sir Charles (1802-1875)

K/PP107/11/1-6: Scientific apparatus, musical instruments and telegraph equipment, [1834-1875]

References on this page: WHEATSTONE: 11


The artefacts are arranged broadly in line with the papers:


  • K/PP107/11/1: Equipment relating to the development of the telegraph
  • K/PP107/11/2: Equipment  relating to experiments to measure electromotive forces and electric potential
  • K/PP107/11/3: Equipment relating to experiments to investigate the nature of electricity, magnetism and thermodynamics
  • K/PP107/11/4: Equipment relating to the study of optics
  • K/PP107/11/5: Musical instruments and apparatus relating to sound
  • K/PP107/11/6: Medals and awards

K/PP107/11/1/1-23: Equipment relating to the development of the telegraph


K/PP107/11/1/1

[1837-1840]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph receiver bell

Electromagnetic telegraph receiver bell mechanism, brass on a wooden base, case missing [see diagram K/PP107/1/4/44].

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/2

[1837-1860]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph bell

Electromagnetic telegraph bell receiver in a mahogany box with green fretwork front and brass winding key at rear [see K/PP107/1/4/44].

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/3

[1837-1841]

Charles Wheatstone: Electric telegraph housing

Mahogany case for telegraph mechanism with gilt surround for winding handle and a brass plate inscribed 'C Wheatstone, Inventor'.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/4

[1840-1850]

Charles Wheatstone: ABC automatic telegraph receiver

ABC automatic telegraph receiver designed by Wheatstone.  The mechanism consists of a spring driven clockwork controlled by an electromagnetic escapement and activated by pulses of current from the sender.  These pulses rotate the wax disc, printed with the alphabet and numerals, and the required character is indicated by a single needle pointer.  The disc or dial on the receiver moves in unison with the dial on the transmitter.  Housed in a mahogany box with a glass front decorated with pilasters and pediment, a plate on the mechanism is inscribed 'C. Wheatstone Invt.'. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/5

[1840-1850]

Charles Wheatstone: ABC Telegraph transmitter

ABC transmitting telegraphs designed by Wheatstone using a step by step mechanism.   The dial is rotated to the required character which operates ‘make and break’ contacts beneath the dial sending current impulses down the line to the receiver.  [See K/PP107/1/4/42].  Brass dial mechanism with 30 arms each marked with letters and numbers radiating from a brass plate attached to a mahogany base.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/6

[1850-1870]

Charles Wheatstone: Electro-magneto bell

Telegraph bell sender developed by Wheatstone and John Matthius Augustus Stroh (1828-1914), telegraph engineer and inventor, in a mahogany case with brass and ebony winding handle and brass terminals.  Part of original Wheatstone Collection labelled ‘Wheatstone and Stroh's Electro-magneto bell’ with detailed description and museum catalogue markings on the rear of the case.  

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/7

[1850-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph transmitter

Prototype telegraph transmitter with 30 keys each representing a letter or number and operating a make and break contact sending pulses of current down the line to a receiver.  Thirty unmarked ivory concertina style keys on a round mahogany base and octagonal mahogany lid.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/8

[1858-1867]

Charles Wheatstone: Automatic telegraph transmitter

Automatic telegraph transmitter developed by Wheatstone and based on the Jacquard Loom punched card system using continuous tape, a ‘Jacquard telegraph’ [see K/PP1071/2/109].  Comprising of a spring driven clockwork mechanism worked by a handle, tiny ‘fingers’ probe the tape opening and closing contacts according to the pattern of holes.  Housed in a mahogany case resting on a wooden base with three brass knobs marked ‘EARTH, LINE AND BAT[TERY]’, original perforated paper tape attached and ‘For Morse’ written in pencil on underside.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/9

[1858-1867]

Charles Wheatstone: Automatic printing telegraph receiver

Automatic telegraph printing receiver devised by Wheatstone.  Impulses of current from the sender cause the electromagnet to operate two brass wire armatures.  Ink is pushed by the armatures from a brass tray through two small holes creating dots on paper tape fed underneath.  The mechanism is mounted on a wooden base, one armature missing.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/10

[1859-1861]

Charles Wheatstone: Universal telegraph receiver

Wheatstone's Universal telegraph receiver developed from the Wheatstone's ABC telegraph originally patented in 1840 with a new patent in 1858, known as a 'coconut' receiver and used in conjunction with the 'communicator'.  Consists of an ebony body with a brass and ivory dial mounted on a wooden base.  Dial inscribed ‘Universal Private Telegraph Company, Incorporated 1861.  C. Wheatstone invt. 1840, new patent 1858’. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/11

[1863-1867]

Charles Wheatstone: Universal telegraph transmitter

Wheatstone’s Universal telegraph developed from his ABC telegraph, originally patented in 1840 with a new patent in 1858. Using a step by step mechanism, the dial is rotated to the required character which operates ‘make and break’ contacts beneath the dial and the handle turned to send current impulses down the line to the receiver. A large wooden base houses the ‘communicator’ with a large alphabetic and numeric brass and ivory dial and operated by an ivory handle. Inscribed ‘Universal Private Telegraph Company, Incorporated 1861. C. Wheatstone invt. 1840, new patent 1858’.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/12

[1840]

Charles Wheatstone: Electric slave clock

Electric clock designed by Wheatstone as one of a number of 'slaves' controlled by a master clock.  The dial movement is a synchronous motor, operating from the alternating current generated by the pendulum of the master at a rate of one cycle per second.  Alexander Bain (1810-1877), clockmaker and  inventor, disputed Wheatstone’s claim to have invented the electric clock [see K/PP107/1/1/57 & 78]. Housed in a mahogany case with gilt metal face inscribed 'C Wheatstone, Invenit'. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/13

[1837-1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph key

Simple telegraph switch or key possibly for William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879), inventor, and Wheatstone's double needle telegraph. Consists of a wooden base with brass bars and terminals, and ivory buttons. [See K/PP107/1/3/85.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/14

[1840-1850]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph relay

Telegraph relay used for long distance lines by re-transmitting a signal to the receiver or other apparatus.  Consists of an electromagnet housed in a semi-circular wooden case. [See K/PP107/1/4/100 for a description of improvements for relay for automatic telegraph.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/15

[1850-1870]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph relay

Telegraph relay used for long distance lines by re-transmitting a signal to the receiver or other apparatus.  Consists of a circular brass mechanism with a glass top, and brass knobs (labelled D, D, T, M, U, U) mounted on a circular wooden base.  [See K/PP107/1/4/100 for a description of improvements for relay for automatic telegraph.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/16

[1840-1850]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph cable

Sample of a prototype cable made of ninety thin copper wires encased in laminated wood.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/17

[1850-1870]

Charles Wheatstone: Telegraph cable

Sample of a telegraph cable for an underground railway made of 10 thick wire cables cast into a concrete block.  Original label reads, 'Old form of under-ground railway telegraph wires'.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/18

1879, [1880-1895]

Charles Wheatstone: Siemens’ telegraph cables

Three samples of trans-Atlantic submarine telegraph cable manufactured by Siemens Brothers & Co.  Possibly the souvenirs given to John Cutler, (1839-1925) Professor of English Law and Jurisprudence at King's College London, 1865-[1915] by Alexander Siemens in 1898 [see K/PP107/1/4/3 for related correspondence].

3 items


K/PP107/11/1/19

[1850-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Resistance box

Resistance box with for measuring resistance in 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 mile lengths of telegraph wire.  Consists of a wooden box with brass plates and knobs.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/20

[1850-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Resistance box

Resistance box for measuring resistance in length of telegraph wire at intervals of 50 miles.  Consists of a wooden box with brass plates and knobs.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/21

[1860-1870]

Charles Wheatstone: Reflecting astatic galvanometer

Thomson [William Thomson (1824-1907), mathematician and physicist] style reflecting astatic galvanometer in brass case inscribed ‘Elliott Brothers, no. 546’.

1 item


K/PP107/11/1/22

[1852-1870]

Charles Wheatstone: Cryptographs and cipher post

Three cryptographs devised by Wheatstone including one wooden prototype with letters and numerals on circular cards attached to a square wooden base; two in original cases with nickel-silver dials,  hands and circular removable cards  for assigning the code.  The dials are inscribed ‘The Cryptograph, C. Wheatstone Invr.’.  Cipher post designed by Wheatstone, consisting of a small brass post with rings of letters and numerals on a mahogany base.

4 items


K/PP107/11/1/23

[1840-1860]

Charles Wheatstone: Metal cage with blank hammers

Circular metal cage with typewriter-like but unmarked hammers mounted on a metal base.  Resembles a sketch found in Wheatstone papers (see K/PP107/1/4/44) labelled 'Bain's' [Alexander Bain (1810-1877), inventor, who disputed Wheatstone’s claim to have invented the electric clock].

1 item


K/PP107/11/2/1-6: Equipment relating to experiments to measure electromotive forces and electric potential


K/PP107/11/2/1

[1840-1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Wheatstone Bridge

Prototype or demonstration model of the 'Wheatstone Bridge' or 'Differential Resistance Measurer' originally devised by Samuel Hunter Christie and further developed and promoted by Wheatstone. An electrical circuit designed to measure unknown resistance by using components with known resistance.  Consists of a series of wires and connectors attached to a wooden base in a diamond shape. [See K/PP107/1/4/44 for a diagram.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/2/2

1843

Charles Wheatstone: Single cylinder rheostat

Single cylinder rheostat devised by Wheatstone to maintain a constant current by adjusting or varying the resistance of a circuit where the resistance is low.  Consists of a cylinder wound with wire, brass fixtures on a wooden base. [See Wheatstone’s Bakerian Lecture for 1843 An account of several new Instruments and Processes for determining the Constants of a Voltaic Circuit published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/2/3

1843

Charles Wheatstone: Double cylinder rheostat

Double cylinder rheostat devised by Wheatstone to maintain a constant current by adjusting or varying the resistance of a circuit.  Consists of two cylinders, one brass and one wood, with wire wound from one cylinder to the other.  A winding handle and brass dial, measuring the number of turns of wire, at the end of the cylinders and mounted on a wooden base.  A description and diagram are in Wheatstone’s papers ref: K/PP107/1/2/64 & 116.  [See also Wheatstone’s Bakerian Lecture for 1843 An account of several new Instruments and Processes for determining the Constants of a Voltaic Circuit published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/2/4

[1873-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Micrometer

Nickel silver micrometer made by Elliott Brothers, London, possibly used by Wheatstone.

1 item


K/PP107/11/2/5-6

[1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Astatic galvanometer

Astatic galvanometer similar in design to Wheatstone's iron-cored galvanometer patented in 1845 with a compass needle suspended by silk thread above coil and 360° indicating dial on a circular wooden base with original glass dome.

2 items


K/PP107/11/3/1-13: Equipment relating to experiments to investigate the nature of electricity, magnetism and thermodynamics


K/PP107/11/3/1

[1860-1867]

Charles Wheatstone: Magneto

Experimental ‘magneto-motor’, ‘inductorium’ or ‘rheomotor’, a hand-cranked generator with two coils rotating around a permanent magnet.  Consists of a mechanism on a mahogany base.  [See section K/PP107/3, particularly K/PP107/3/1/33 and K/PP107/3/3/289.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/2

[1827-1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Daniell’s dew point hygrometer

Dew point hygrometer developed by John Frederic Daniell (1790-1845), chemist and Professor at King's College London, to measure humidity.  Ether is poured over the muslin-covered bulb.  The ether evaporates, cooling the liquid inside the tube, causing water vapour from the ambient air to condense on the black surface of the second bulb.  The temperature inside the black bulb is read off the integral thermometer and compared with the temperature of the ambient air in order to determine the relative humidity.  Consists of glass tubes on a wooden stand. Possibly used by Wheatstone in teaching demonstrations. [See K/PP107/5/102 and 103.]  

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/3

[1830-1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Daniell’s pyrometer

Pyrometer designed by John Frederic Daniell (1790-1845), chemist and Professor at King’s College London, used to determine high temperatures by measuring the expansion of metal. Brass instrument in bespoke wooden box.  Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/4

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: ‘Oersted's law apparatus’

Simple galvanometer designed by William Sturgeon to demonstrate Oersted’s law which shows that a constant electric current produces a magnetic field.  Wooden base with a copper loop and brass terminals. Possibly used by Wheatstone in teaching demonstrations. [See K/PP107/5/103.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/5

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Simple demonstration galvanometer

Magnetic compass needles with conductors used as a demonstration model to show the principles of magnetism and electricity (galvanometer). The needles attached to moveable brass rods which in turn are attached to a central wooden pillar mounted on a wooden base.

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/6

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Iron vane galvanometer

Iron vane galvanometer probably designed for demonstrational use.  Consists of a compass needle pivoted in the middle of a coil attached to a wooden pillar with four terminals.  A current passed through the coil exerts a force on the needle, which tries to align itself with the resulting magnetic field.

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/7

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Dip circle

Dip circle used to measure the angle between the horizon and the Earth's magnetic field. Consists of a quarter circular brass rule with needle on a wooden base. Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching. [See K/PP107/5/104.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/8

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Barlow’s wheel

Apparatus designed by Peter Barlow (1776-1862), physicist, to demonstrate the principles of the electric motor.  Known as Barlow’s wheel, a current is passed through the wheel into a mercury reservoir, the magnetic force created reacts with a U-shaped magnet causing the wheel to turn. Consists of a copper stellated wheel with mercury trough made by J Newman, Regent St.  Used by Wheatstone for teaching.  [See K/PP107/5/103.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/9

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: 'Magnet rotating on its own axis'

A model designed to demonstrate the principles of the electro-magnet as developed by Michael Faraday (1791-1867), natural philosopher. Consists of a suspended brass frame with rotating fins in a mercury trough mounted on a wooden base. Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching. [See K/PP107/5/103.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/10

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Roget’s spiral

Model developed by Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), physician and philologist, to demonstrate the attractive force of parallel electrically charged wires. Consists of an extendable brass arm and spring or coil dipping into a mercury trough mounted on a wooden base. Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching.  [See K/PP107/5/103.] 

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/11

[1834-1845]

Charles Wheatstone: Astatic needle

Model designed to demonstrate the effects of magnetic fields using two parallel needles of the same magnetic strength mounted on top of one another with their magnetic poles at opposing ends. Consists of two needles mounted on a brass pivot attached to a wooden base.

1 item


K/PP107/11/3/12

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Electrostatic generator

Cylindrical electrostatic generator originally developed by Edward Nairne (1726-1806), optician and scientific instrument maker.  Consists of a glass cylinder on wooden supports with cloth friction pads and wooden turning handle.  Also includes separate brass conductor, Leyden jar and other rods and conductors. Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching.  [See K/PP107/5/103.]

7 items


K/PP107/11/3/13

[1834-1837]

Charles Wheatstone: Rotating magnet motor

Apparatus to demonstrate the rotary action of a magnet, an electromagnetic motor or galvanometer.   Consists of a U-shaped magnet on a wooden base with a mercury trough, wire coil contact and a small iron bar magnet.  Possibly used by Wheatstone for teaching.  [See K/PP107/5/103.] 

1 item


K/PP107/11/4/1-6: Equipment relating to the study of optics


K/PP107/11/4/1

[1838-1851]

Charles Wheatstone: Stereoscope

Stereoscope designed by Wheatstone in 1838 using two angled mirrors to reflect two slightly different pictures to each eye through a viewer to create the illusion of a three-dimensional image. Consists of a mahogany frame with adjustable mirrors and viewing lenses. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/4/2

[1836-1865]

Charles Wheatstone: Photometer

Wheatstone’s rotating mirror apparatus or photometer used to measure the velocity of light.  Consists of a clockwork mechanism surmounted by a dial in a circular glass and brass case with a turret containing the rotating mirror.  Housed in a mahogany box with brass winding key.  [See K/PP107/4/1/38.]

1 item


K/PP107/11/4/3

[1852-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Solar Chronometer

Solar instrument through which the sun’s image is projected on to a fixed point includes a quadrant to measure the angle, a spirit level, a clock and a second dial reading 0-20 clockwise and anti-clockwise.  Brass with clock inscribed ‘A. Stroh, London’.  

1 item


K/PP107/11/4/4

[1850-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Microscope

Nickel plated microscope with fine focus, possibly used by Wheatstone.  Housed in a wooden box with brass handle with three lenses marked as Okular 3, 4 & 5 [probably German manufacturer] and a leather case containing glass slides from Elliott Brothers, Opticians, 448 Strand, London. 

1 case


K/PP107/11/4/5

[1848-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Polar clock

Semi-circular dial thought to be related to Wheatstone’s work developing the polar clock. Consists of a black glass plate with protractor-like dial mounted in wooden frame. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/4/6

[1850-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Polariscope

Polariscope devised by Wheatstone for examining polarised light.  Three brass cylinders with lenses mounted on a mahogany base, engraved S C Tisley & Co, London.

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/1-7: Musical instruments and apparatus relating to sound


K/PP107/11/5/1

[1838-1843]

Charles Wheatstone: Concertina

Concertina with rosewood fretwork, green leather bellows and thirty two ivory keys, labelled 'By His Majesty's Letters Patent, C Wheatstone, Inventor, 20 Conduit Street, Regent Street London'.

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/2

[1840-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Kaleidophone

Adjustable rotating kaleidophone or harmonograph designed by Charles Wheatstone to demonstrate Lissajous' figures formed by combining two motions at right angles.  Consists of brass pulleys, levers and steel rods mounted on a wooden base. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/3

[1832-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Nail fiddle

Nail fiddle or violin designed by Wheatstone. Consists of a hollow wooden soundboard with two handles and two rows of parallel metal nails.  Probably played using a violin bow.  

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/4

[1832-1875]

Charles Wheatstone: Wind fiddle

Wind fiddle invented by Wheatstone, a violin with bellows.  Consists of a wooden violin body with slots either side where the bellows were originally housed. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/5

[1828-1832]

Charles Wheatstone: Pitch generator

Variable pitch generating device made by Wheatstone & Co, instrument makers.  Consists of mahogany body with mother of pearl feet. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/6

[1835-1851]

Charles Wheatstone: Harmonium chord transposer

Automatic harmonium chord transposition assembly devised by Wheatstone.  Wooden casing with metal levers and ivory buttons. 

1 item


K/PP107/11/5/7

[1835-1851]

Charles Wheatstone: Harmonium

Main body of a table top harmonium devised by Wheatstone.  Wooden casing with metal levers and ivory buttons.

1 item


K/PP107/11/6: Medals and awards


K/PP107/11/6/1-20

1832-1874

Charles Wheatstone: Prize medals and awards

Exhibition prize medals, service awards and memorial medals awarded to Sir Charles Wheatstone including a medal from the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, 1851; Copley medal, 1862; the Royal Society's Royal Prize medal, 1843 and Copley medal, 1862; and the Imperial Order of the Rose of Brazil.

2 boxes

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