Jason Clarke Antiques

Large Late Victorian Wimshurst Machine with 18" Discs


For sale, a very large late Victorian Wimshurst Machine on mahogany base with 18” glass discs.

The machine has a mahogany base with bracket feet and two contra rotating 18” shellac covered glass discs with 24 foil sectors attached to the front of each. The discs are rotated by means of two turned mahogany wheels with leather bands attached to a wooden central spindle on which the discs are attached.

By turning the brass and vulcanite handle, electrostatic charge is sent to 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 which are positioned above the machine and are pivoted on two vulcanite insulated arms to allow for lengthening or shortening of the spark whilst in demonstration. There are four wood and vulcanite upright columns to each corner which support the metal comb collectors and also connect the leyden jars to the main apparatus.

A real showpiece and I can attest to its power for all the wrong reasons!

The Wimshurst influence machine or electrostatic generator was developed by the British inventor James Wimshurst between 1880 & 1883.

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.

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