Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Cylinder electrical machine
    • Setting:
      Room XI
    • Maker:
      Edward Nairne
    • Place:
    • Date:
      ca. 1778
    • Materials:
      mahogany, brass, wood, cloth, tin foil
    • Dimensions:
      total height 1700 mm; glass cylinder 600x360 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Cylinder electrical machine (Inv. 2739)

Frictional electrical machine, similar to the small portable cylinder generators made by Edward Nairne, also referred to as the "English pattern" machine. The glass cylinder is rotated by a two-pulley system; the leather cushion is supported on a glass pillar and secured to wooden strips sliding in the cross-piece of the frame. This arrangement allows the operator to adjust the pressure of the cushion—and consequently the amount of friction—on the glass. A machine of this type was used by Nairne for experiments on lightning conductors c. 1778. Provenance: Lorraine collections.