Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Nobili's constant-current thermopile
    • Setting:
      Room XVI
    • Inventor:
      Leopoldo Nobili
    • Maker:
    • Date:
      ca. 1829
    • Materials:
      bismuth, antimony, brass
    • Dimensions:
      height 78 mm, diameter 62 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Nobili's constant-current thermopile (Inv. 1227)

Consists of a brass ring carrying 25 elements (antimony and bismuth couples), with removable top and bottom, the whole forming a cylindrical box. An important application of the thermopile was as a constant source of electric current, long before reference voltages could be supplied by stable standard cells. At the same time as he was developing the thermopile as a differential thermometer for studying radiant heat, Leopoldo Nobili also made this version to supply a constant current for his differential galvanometer. Provenance: Lorraine collections.