Born in the
village of Igelshieb, in the Rennsteig area of the Dukedom of Saxony-Meiningen,
Geissler is a well known figure in the history of scientific instruments
since the descendants of his inventions - the Geissler tube and the
mercury vacuum pump are still in use today. Igelshieb is a suburb of
Neuhaus am Rennweg in the state of Thuringia, Germany. The house of
birth of Geissler is still there and contains a nice collection of
Geissler tubes and those of other plasma heroes. This is organized by
the Förderverein Heimatmuseum Geissler - Haus e.V. with its president
Rolf Schöler in Neuhaus, available at
Geissler's father Georg
was an innovative glass-blower and maker of instruments such as
barometers and thermometers. Heinrich Geissler's youth coincided with a
flowering in interest in experimental natural sciences leading to a
greater demand for laboratory apparatus, particularly hollow glassware,
which was to catapult the craft of the glassblower from a cottage
industry to a profession.
however, earned his living for a decade as a traveling instrument maker
before settling and establishing a workshop in Bonn, a young university
town with a demand for laboratory apparatus. Here Geissler worked
closely with chemists, physicists, medical doctors, physiologists and
mineralogists and built up an international client list. From 1855 he
participated regularly in world exhibitions, winning several medals for
his scientific apparatus.
experimenting with what were later to become known as the 'Geissler
tube' in 1857 and full-scale production of these was well underway in
the 1880s. He died in 1879 and is buried in Bonn.
Mason & Woods Ltd.
Webster 4597 Catalog, 1991
Active in chemical and physical
research for more than fifty years, William Crookes was trained in
science by Faraday, Wheatstone and Stokes. He was knighted in 1897 and
awarded the Order of Merit in 1910, for his contribution to scientific
research. For most of his life he was a freelance chemical consultant,
using a home laboratory.
He produced a vacuum of one
millionth of an atmosphere, thus making possible the discovery of X-rays
and the electron. He also experimented on cathode rays - streams of
negatively-charged particles - now called electrons. These are released
from the surface of a metal plate called the cathode and fixed in a
vacuum within a glass tube.
In 1878, Crookes became convinced
that the dark space he has observed between the cathode and the glow,
extended farther from the cathode as the pressure inside the glass tube
was reduced. The pressure could be reached to the point at which the
dark space touched the far end of the tube opposite the cathode. This
suggested that the electrical discharge in an evacuated tube was an
actual illumination of the lines of molecular pressure.
He produced special tubes to
examine cathode rays at various configurations and gas pressures. He
discovered that a bar magnet contorts the rays into a spiral, while a
horseshoe magnet produced a curve.
British Double Barrel Vacuum Pump
Vacuum Pump with Electric Egg
Early Vacuum Demonstration
The brass cup inside the glass
sphere contains a bell.
When the sphere is evacuated, the bell can no longer be heard.
VACUUM AIR PUMP AND
Single barrel air pump on mahogany base
measuring 20" x 11-3/4" and 28" at highest point. Belljar measures 17"
high and 6-3/4" in diameter.
See page 7, figure 4 in A Catalog
of Pneumatic Instruments Manufactured and Sold by N.B. and D.
Chamberlain, Boston 1844. Very Fine Condition. American, circa 1860's..
Also with air pump are included: another
glass belljar measuring 12-3/4" high, * diameter; a third glass belljar
measuring 15" high, 8-1/2" diameter; a fourth (also known as "Hand
Glass" see Pike's Catalog Vol. I pg 201 fig. 191) or "Swelled open - top
bell-glass" (see pg. 15, fig. 24 in N. B. and Chamberlain's Catalog)
measuring 6" high, 5-5/8" diameter; a set of "Hemispherical Cups", (see
pg. 17, fig. 33 in Chamberlain's Catalog) (also known as "Magdeburg"
Hemisphere (see Pike's Catalog Vol. I pg. 203-204 fig. 197) made of
brass and 3-1/8" in diameter; and a Fountain- in-Vacu (see pg. 28-29,
fig 58 in Chamberlain's Catalog) or Artificial Fountain, made of glass
and is 23" in height; signed on the stopcock "JAS. W. Queen, Phila".
All the above accessories are in fine
condition and are American, circa 1860's.