Melloni Bench

Melloni Bench

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Joseph Henry, the first notable American physicist after Franklin, was in Europe in 1837, meeting scientists and purchasing apparatus for research and classroom demonstrations at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). While in Paris, Henry spent time with Macedonio Melloni, the Italian physicist who had recently connected the properties of radiant heat with those of visible light. In 1841, Henry commissioned a travelling friend to procure a Melloni apparatus from Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff, an up-and-coming instrument maker in Paris. This seems to be part of that apparatus. The inscription reads “Ruhmkorff Rue des Orfevres 6.”
Ref: Ref: Emanuela Colombi, Matteo Leone, and Nadia Robotti, “The emergence of Melloni’s optical bench,” European Journal of Physics 38 (2017).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Melloni bench
date made
early 1840s
Ruhmkorff, Heinrich Daniel
place made
France: Île-de-France, Département de Ville-de-Paris
overall: 15 1/16 in x 40 in x 7 in; 38.25875 cm x 101.6 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Princeton University
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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