image MS_776_419
Image number: RS.17390
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Glass instrument with a bolt head


3 June 1663


Unknown, Artist


Robert Hooke (1635-1703, British), Natural philosopher

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 320mm
width (page): 200mm


   > Mechanics


Drawing of a glass instrument with a bolt head placed in a small glass vessel, used by Robert Hooke in an experiment using an air pump. The bubbles created by the compression were deemed to be 'rarefied water', as they disappeared two to three days after the experiment. The experiment tried at the meeting of the Royal Society on 3 June 1663 did not succeed because of leaks from the condensing machine. It was demonstrated more successfully on 10 June 1663.

This is a copy from the Register Book Original (RBO/2i/227 or RBO/2ii/149). The original drawing by Hooke is at: Cl.P/20/19/001. There are other copies at RBC/2/034 and MS/215/098.

This volume is another copy of entries of the first two volumes of the Register Book. It was given to Sir Joseph Banks by G. S. Heales Esquire of Doctor's Common on 31 May 1814.

Object history

At the meeting of the Royal Society on 3 June 1663, ‘the experiment of raising water in a kind of small weather-glass, by the pressing in of air in the condensing engine, was tried; but by reason of the engine’s leaking, proved imperfect, and was therefore ordered to be repeated at the next meeting’ (Birch 1:250).

At the next meeting, on 10 June 1663, ‘the experiment was begun to be made, to know, whether the substance of those bubbles, that are observed to float at the top of the water in two bolt-heads, after the water hath been well exhausted out of the receiver, and been re-admitted into the same, be real air, or but rarefied parts of that water. And there was put into the place of the bubble remaining in one of the bolt-heads, included in the same receiver, as much air, to see at the next meeting, whether the one as well as the other return into the pores of the water or not’ (Birch 1:254). The text and figure of this experiment are printed in Birch 1:254-55. Hooke (elected Fellow on 3 June 1663) is not mentioned in the minutes.

Related Fellows

Robert Hooke (1635-1703, British), Natural philosopher

Associated place

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