image crookes w_bakerian_1878
Image number: RS.11058
Credit: © The Royal Society

Illumination of a Crookes Tube



Creator - Organisation

West, Newman & Co, Lithographers

Object type




height (print): 284mm
width (print): 210mm


Content object


Three figures showing lighting effects in a vacuum tube during experiments conducted by William Crookes. The ‘Crookes Tube’ was a glass container through which high voltage could be applied within a partial vacuum. It was a type of cathode ray tube, projecting what J.J.Thompson (1856-1940) would later characterise as electrons. In the paper associated with this illustration, Crookes suggested that: “The phenomena in these exhausted tubes reveal to physical science a new world – a world where matter may exist in a fourth state…”, what would now be termed plasma.

Figure 11 from the Royal Society Bakerian Lecture “On the illumination of lines of molecular pressure, and the trajectory of molecules”, by William Crookes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol.170 pt.1 (1879) pp. 135-164.

Sir William Crookes (1832-1919) chemist and science journalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1863. He served as President of the Royal Society 1913-1915.

Associated place

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