‘Historical treasures’

    J. T. Balcomb (British) , Illustrator
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (print): 393mm
    width (print): 268mm
    Content object
    Composite illustration, twenty-one scientific instruments from various collections, on loan to the 1876 International Exhibition at South Kensington. The group of objects includes the Royal Society’s reflecting telescope by Sir Isaac Newton, placed centrally in the composition. The South Kensington Museum would later evolve into the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum collections.

    The figures are numbered and described in a key below: 1. Tycho Brahe’s quadrant. 2. Sir Francis Drake’s astrolabe. 3. Galileo’s telescope. 4. Galileo’s second telescope. 5. Newton’s telescope. Jansen’s compound microscope, 1590. 7. Galileo’s microscope (occhialino). 8. Sir Humphry Davy’s first safety-lamp. 9. Third safety lamp. 10. Davy’s improved safety-lamp. 11. Pascal’s adding and subtracting machine, 1642. 12. The ‘Napier Bones’ for division and multiplication, about 1700. 13. Sommering’s electric telegraph, 1809. 14. Faraday’s magneto-electric induction apparatus. 15 and 16. Faraday’s later apparatus. 17. Forbes’s apparatus. 18. Galileo’s air thermometer. 19. Dalton’s mountain barometer. 20. Dalton’s apparatus for testing the tension of ether vapour. 21. Ancient Swiss clock, from Dover Castle.

    Full page illustration from The Illustrated London News, 16 September 1876, p.269. Captioned below: ‘HISTORICAL TREASURES IN THE LOAN COLLECTION OF SCIENTIFIC APPARATUS, SOUTH KENSINGTON.’ The print is signed lower right ‘J. T. BALCOMB. DEL.’

    An accompanying article ‘Loan collection of scientific apparatus’ (p.270) provides more detailed descriptions of the objects, drawn from the official catalogue of the exhibition.
    Object history
    Purchased by the Royal Society.
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > United Kingdom
             > London
    ©The Royal Society
    Image number
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