Siemens & Halske Liquid Level Indicator, Recording Mechanism

This device is marked “Siemens & Halske, Berlin. No. 1734.” The U.S. Weather Bureau transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1954, describing it as a recording mechanism for a liquid level indicator.
Werner Siemens (von Siemens since 1888) was a prominent German inventor and industrialist who established the instrument firm of Siemens & Halske in 1847. Siemens AG remains a major firm in this field.
Siemens described an electrical water level indicator in 1866. Siemens & Halske sent an example to the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus held in London in 1876, terming it a “Magneto-Electric Water Level Indicator.” The accompanying text explained that: “A float which rises or falls with the level of the water in the reservoir or tank communicates motion by a metallic chain to a magneto inductor, which, generating electric currents, works at any distance [by] an indicator connected by a cable or insulated wire.” An example was also shown in the Collective Exhibit of the Historical Development of the Applications of Electricity in Germany, at the Columbian Exhibition held in Chicago in 1893.
Ref: “Siemens & Halske’s Electrical Water Level Indicator,” in Werner von Siemens, Scientific & Technical Papers (London, 1895), vol. 2, pp. 251-255.
South Kensington Museum, Catalogue of the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus (London, 1876), p. 918.
Chicago. Columbian Exposition. Official Catalogue. Exhibition of the German Empire (Berlin, 1893), p. 247.
Wilfried Feldenkirchen, Werner von Siemens. Inventor and International Entrepreneur (Columbus, O., 1994).
Currently not on view
Object Name
recording mechanism
Siemens & Halske
overall: 10 in x 5 in x 4 in; 25.4 cm x 12.7 cm x 10.16 cm
place made
Deutschland: Berlin, Berlin
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
Water Currents
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Water Currents
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
U.S. Weather Bureau

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