Aurora Tube

Aurora Tube

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The two ends of this hollow glass aurora tube might be attached to an induction coil or static electrical machine. When there is air in tube, not much is seen; but as the air is evacuated, the electrical discharge becomes increasingly evident. The form originated in the eighteenth century. This example was used at Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School, in Emmitsburg, Md. Established by Elizabeth Ann Seaton, shortly after her arrival at Emmitsburg in 1809, this was the first free parochial school for girls in the United States.
Ref: Benjamin Pike, Jr., Pike’s Illustrated Descriptive Catalogue of Optical, Mathematical, and Philosophical Instruments (New York, 1848), vol. 1, pp. 290-291.
Currently not on view
Object Name
aurora tube
overall: 37 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 95.25 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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