Hipp Chronoscope

Hipp Chronoscope

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A chronoscope is a sophisticated clock that measures minute intervals of time. The “M. Hipp / Neuchatel, Suisse / N. 13184” inscription on the dial of this example refers to Matthäus Hipp, a German clockmaker who settled in Switzerland during the political turmoil of 1848, and retired in 1889. The double electromagnet at the top is a feature that Hipp introduced in 1875.The serial number indicates a date in the 1880s.
With the opening of the U.S. National Museum in 1881, the Smithsonian took on the task of teaching visitors about technologies, from the most primitive to the most sophisticated, from cultures around the world. It was in this context that the Smithsonian acquired a Hipp chronoscope that could “cut a second into five hundred parts.” An 1891 account of the Museum displays noted that the chronoscope was located near a Benjamin Franklin press and an assortment of clocks and watches.
Ref: Thomas Schraven, “The Hipp Chronoscope,” http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/documents/schraven_art13.pdf
Currently not on view
Object Name
chronoscope, Hipp
date made
late 1880s
overall: 52 cm x 26.7 cm x 21.5 cm; 20 15/32 in x 10 1/2 in x 8 15/32 in
overall; chronoscope: 20 5/16 in x 10 5/16 in x 8 3/4 in; 51.59375 cm x 26.19375 cm x 22.225 cm
overall; weight: 2 1/8 in x 2 5/8 in; 5.3975 cm x 6.6675 cm
overall; dome: 6 1/2 in x 5 3/4 in x 5 in; 16.51 cm x 14.605 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Smithsonian Institution
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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