Gravity Pendulum

Along with gravimeters and torsion balances, pendulums can be used to measure gravitational force. The period oscillation of the pendulum can be used to measure gravitational acceleration, and in turn used in prospecting for natural resources. Different types of underground resources have different densities, increasing or decreasing gravitational attraction that can be detected by pendulums.
This is one of two similar instruments that the Humble Oil & Refining Co. purchased in 1931, and used to determine the force of gravity near Houston, Texas. It is a photographic recording instrument with four invariable pendulums of the sort that the Austrian military officer, Robert von Sterneck, designed in the 1880s. Carl Bamberg offered instruments of this sort, with "price by arrangement" for some 20 years, and Askania Werke continued the tradition.
Ref: Notes prepared by D.H. Gardner, August 19, 1959, in NMAH accession file.
Carl Bamberg, Preis-Verzeichnis. No. XI. Wissenschaftliche Instrumente (1904), pp. 50-52.
M. Haid, "Neues Pendelstativ," Zeitschrift für Instrumentenkunde 16 (1896): 193-196.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1931
place made
Deutschland: Berlin
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Humble Oil and Refining Company
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture and Natural Resources
Measuring & Mapping
Natural Resources
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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