An Early Twentieth Century Wimshurst Machine
An early Twentieth Century Wimshurst Machine.
The Wimshurst influence machine or electrostatic generator was developed by the British inventor James Wimshurst between 1880 & 1883.
The machine has a wooden base with two contra rotating yellow plastic discs with 24 metal sectors attached to the front. By turning the handle electrostatic charge is sent to the two glass leyden jars which sit either side of the base. Once enough charge has been stored within the jars a spark is released between the two brass nodes to the front of the machine.
Although this machine has no markings it is likely to have been manufactured by Philip Harris & Co of Birmingham as it bears good similarities to other examples of the company’s Wimshurst models.
James Wimshurst was the Chief Shipwright Surveyor for Lloyds of London but dedicated his spare time to scientific experimentation. Widely known for his experiments with electricity, he became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1889 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1898.
The machine is in working order.