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
Object Name
gravity meter, Worden
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
Measuring & Mapping
Natural Resources
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Approved comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about your own artifacts or comment on their value, rarity, or collectibility.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.