<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Traditionally, only musicians could reliably produce tones of a specific frequency. With a siren, even scientists could produce specific tones. Charles Cagniard de la Tour (1777-1859), a French engineer, described the first successful siren in 1819. This example is of that sort. It came from the Department of Physics at Indiana University. The inscription reads “Jas. W. Queen & Co. / Philadelphia.”
Ref: Charles Cagniard de la Tour, “Sur la Sirene, nouvelle machine d’accoustique destinee a mesurer les vibrations de l’air qui contien le son,” Annales de Chemie et de Physique 12 (1819): 167-171.
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 15 in x 10 in; 38.1 cm x 25.4 cm
overall: 14 3/8 in x 9 3/4 in; 36.5125 cm x 24.765 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of the Department of Physics, Indiana University
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object