A cube, cone and prism from the second half of the 1700s. Most likely from the college Bergseminaret, which was founded in Kongsberg in 1757 to educate engineers and professionals for the mining industry. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
A bell and resonator from ca. 1880. A fiddle bow was run across the metal bell on the right and the tube with adjustable length resonated when the pitch matched. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
This air pump from 1910 was used to create a vacuum chamber for experimentation. It was a commonly instrument for teaching physics around the end of the 1800s. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
A thermometer from ca. 1840. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
This instrument was called Marcet’s cone and was used to study high-pressure steam, ca. 1840. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
A surveyor’s telescope from around 1890. This was used in topographical studies. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
A light microscope from ca. 1780. An object would be illuminated and its image would project onto a polished glass screen. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
On the left is the camera that Birkeland used to observe the Northern Lights in Finnmark County. On the right is Birkeland’s molecular pump. (Photo Kari Oliv Vedvik)
One of Birkeland’s patents - an electric cannon. This was no success, but it formed the basis for the electric arc process, which led to the production of synthetic fertilizer. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
Instruments that mathematician and physicist Carl Anton Bjerknes used to calculate models of ocean currents. The glass spheres were filled with water and Bjerknes observed the ways the water rotated. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
An electric pistol from ca. 1800, believed to have belonged to the Danish astronomer Thomas Bugge. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
This is the precursor to Birkeland’s space chamber. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)
A glass chamber that represented outer space. It consists of a small magnetic sphere representing the Earth. The chamber made it possible to imitate several cosmic phenomena, including the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). This instrument was used by the researcher Kristian Birkeland, who was the first in Norway to demonstrate x-rays. (Photo: Kari Oliv Vedvik)

See early physics instruments

Scientific instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries are now on exhibition in Norway. See photos here.

Denne artikkelen er over ti år gammel og kan inneholde utdatert informasjon.

A new exhibition at the Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine in Oslo is devoted to scientific instruments from the 1700s and 1800s.

Then, as today, physics research entailed experiments and systematic investigations relying on highly accurate instruments. 

The instruments were also essential tools for demonstrating knowledge, either to entertain the public or to educate students.

The exhibition, which opened this week, mainly features instruments from the Physics Cabinet at the University of Oslo.

Here you can see the instruments that were used by several noted Norwegian scientists, including Carl Anton Bjerknes and Kristian Birkeland.

Translated by: Glenn Ostling

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