Worden Gravimeter

Gravimeters (gravity meters) are extremely precise instruments that measure the earth’s gravity at a specific location. Gravimeters are often used by prospectors to locate subterranean deposits of valuable natural resources (mainly petroleum) as well as by geodesists to study the shape of the earth and its gravitational field. Differences in topography, latitude, or elevation—as well as differences in subterranean density—all affect the force of gravity. Commonly, gravimeters are composed of a weight hanging on a zero-length spring inside a metal housing to negate the influence of temperature and wind. Gravity is then measured by how much the weight stretches the spring.
This is a display model of the original Worden gravimeter. Its central element, made of fused quartz, is an exact copy of the original, enlarged 5 times. The case and dials are slightly smaller. Worden Quartz Products, Inc., a Division of Ruska Instrument Corp., donated this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1967.
Currently not on view
overall: 54 cm x 27 cm x 27 cm; 21 1/4 in x 10 5/8 in x 10 5/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Worden Quartz Products, Incorporated
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Work and Industry: Agriculture
Measuring & Mapping
Natural Resources
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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