Accession No

6268


Brief Description

Glass Helmholtz resonator, late 19th century.


Origin

Unknown


Maker

Unknown


Class

sound


Earliest Date

Jan. 1, 1875


Latest Date

Dec. 31, 1900


Inscription Date


Material

Glass


Dimensions

Length 90mm; diameter 70mm.


Special Collection


Provenance

Purchased from Trevor Philip and Sons, 75a Jermyn St, London on 21/05/2009.


Inscription


Description Notes

Glass Helmholtz resonator, late 19th century.
The resonator is spheroid in shape and has an opening at its base as well as a small opening in the cone-shaped top (for inserting into the ear, when analysing sounds).

Condition: good; complete.


References

Torben Rees & Jonah Lipton; 'Helmholtz resonators: tools for the analysis of sound'; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge; 2009: https://www.whipplemuseum.cam.ac.uk/explore-whipple-collections/acoustics/hermann-von-helmholtz/helmholtz-resonators-tools-analysis


Events

Description
This object is a Helmholtz resonator made of glass in the mid to late 19th century. The maker and place of manufacture are unknown.

Herman von Helmholtz (1821-1894) developed the resonator that bears his name when experimenting on the timbre (tone-colour) of vowel sounds. By holding the small opening next to one’s ear, it is apparent whether the resonant frequency of the resonator exists in sounds being studied.

Glass resonators such as this were superceded by resonators made of brass for practical reasons: glass, as well as being more fragile, is much harder to make to exact dimensions, whereas brass can be fashioned to a greater degree of accuracy. Small changes in size of the cavity and the larger opening have an effect on the frequency of the resonance (i.e. the note one hears).

For more on how such resonators work, see the catalogue entries for Wh. 4612).


15/06/2009
Created by: Derek Scurll on 15/06/2009


FM:46751

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