Toepfer Variometer

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This variometer, which measures slight changes in the horizontal intensity of the earth's magnetic field, is based on a design developed by J. F. A. M. Eschenhagen, Director of the Prussian Magnetic Observatory at Potsdam. It is marked "Otto Toepfer Potsdam XII." The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey obtained several variometers from Toepfer around 1901 and kept them in use for many years. The U.S. Geological Survey acquired this example in 1973 when assumed responsibility for the geomagnetic program of the federal government, and transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1982.
Ref: M. Eschenhagen, "Magnetic Intensity Variometers," Terrestrial Magnetism 5 (1900): 59-62.
Otto Toepfer & Sohn, Neue transportable Feinregistrir-Einrichtung für Erdmagnetismus (Potsdam, 1903).
Daniel Hazard, Results of Observations Made at the Coast and Geodetic Survey Magnetic Observatory at Baldwin, Kansas, 1901-1904 (Washington, D.C., 1909), pp. 10-11.
Currently not on view
Place Made
Deutschland: Brandenburg, Potsdam
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 19 in; 48.26 cm
overall: 19 in x 8 1/4 in x 7 in; 48.26 cm x 20.955 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Scientific Instruments
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History