Home-made Laser


This carbon-dioxide gas laser was assembled and operated in 1979 by teenager Ebe Helm in the basement of his parent's New Jersey home. As Helm told museum staff, "The laser operated at 9000 volts, 120 milliamps, on alternating current. Because my gas supply was very limited, it functioned as a static, non-flowing gas laser. It did not function at the expected pressure of 4-10 torr, but only above 60 torr, well off the range of the vacuum gage I was using. The target is a building block donated from the nursery school that my mother operated from our home."

Mr. Helm donated this and other lasers to the Smithsonian in 2005.

Date Made: 1979

Maker: Helm, Ebe

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Laser


See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Energy & Power, Lasers, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from Ebe Helm

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0034.02Catalog Number: 2005.0034.02Accession Number: 2005.0034

Object Name: laser

Physical Description: wood (base material)wood (target material)glass (overall material)brass (part material)steel (part material)plastic (part material)Measurements: overall: 18 cm x 13 cm x 61.5 cm; 7 1/16 in x 5 1/8 in x 24 3/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-c98a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1299425

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