image pp_37_27_3-8
Image number: RS.11767
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Sparks in mercury vapour

Date

1884

Creator

Arthur T. Stanton (d.1898, British), Physicist

Object type

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (print): 203mm
width (print): 325mm

Subject

Description

Experiments showing the glow effects of spark discharges through mercury vapour contained within glass tubes. A Sprengel pump was used to evacuate the air from the tubes and the mercury heated, before sparks were generated between pairs of platinum wire electrodes.

Illustrations from the manuscript version of the paper ‘Experiments on the discharge of electricity through gases. Sketch of a theory’, by Arthur Schuster, Proceedings of the Royal Society, vol.37 (1884), pp.317-339. The published version appeared as the Bakerian Lecture for 1884 and these illustrations form part of plate 4.

Inscribed above in ink: ‘Discharge through Mercury Vapour’. Each photograph is numbered in pencil to correspond with the final plate position, 1a to 3b and tube temperatures are also noted. A small pencil drawing is indicative of the style of the final engravings.

Sir Arthur Schuster [formerly Franz Arthur Friedrich] (1851-1934) German-born British physicist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1879.

Arthur T. Stanton (d.1898) acted as Arthur Schuster’s experimental assistant at the University of Manchester.

Associated place

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