Toy Train

Description (Brief)
This toy train was used in 1963 and 1964 as the subject for several of the earliest publically seen holograms. In late 1963, Emmett Leith and Juris Upatnieks at the University of Michigan’s Willow Run Laboratories demonstrated a method of making high-resolution, three-dimensional images using laser beams. Their success came after years of research by many scientists, so while “Toy Train” was not the first hologram, the quality of the image stunned everyone. In 1970 Leith and Upatnieks donated about a dozen of their early holograms and the toy train to the Smithsonian.
Object Name
holography model
toy train
date made
ca 1963
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 2 1/8 in x 1 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 5.3975 cm x 3.81 cm x 19.05 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Emmett N. Leith and Juris Upatnieks
Additional Media

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