Leyden Jar from RMS Carpathia

Leyden jars were essential for storing electrical charges used by the earliest wireless radios used aboard ocean liners. Shortly after RMS Carpathia's rescue of Titanic survivors, the ship visited Boston, Massachusetts. Marconi Wireless Radio employee Harry Cheetham boarded Carpathia to service the radio, which had been damaged during the Titanic operations. He replaced these two Leyden jars. One is intact and the other is broken, but fortunately the broken one shows how the jars were constructed inside to store and relay an electrical charge. Cheetham kept these artifacts as Titanic souvenirs, and donated them to the Smithsonian in 1930.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Leyden jar
date made
ca 1910
Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd.
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
foil (overall material)
copper (overall material)
overall: 11 1/4 in x 3 7/8 in; 28.575 cm x 9.8425 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 Harry R. Chetham
Additional Media

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