Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Lane electrometer
    • Setting:
      Room XI
    • Inventor:
      Timothy Lane
    • Maker:
    • Date:
      second half 18th cent.
    • Materials:
      mahogany, brass
    • Dimensions:
      height 360 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Lane electrometer (Inv. 543)

A large version of the Lane discharging electrometers for use with English-type plate electrical machines. The spark gap between the prime conductor and this electrometer can be accurately measured by a vernier and micrometer screw. The instrument has been restored and the glass support replaced by one of aluminum painted red. Originally, it may have been on a longer support and used with one of the two large Nairne machines (inv. 2736 - inv. 2739).

Timothy Lane described this discharging electrometer in 1766. He used it to determine the charge given to a Leyden jar by counting the number of sparks it received from the electrometer set at a constant gap. The instrument became popular in electrotherapy and was used to limit the power of the electrical discharge. Provenance: Lorraine collections.