Barus Harmonic Synthesizer

Barus Harmonic Synthesizer

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Description (Brief)
Barus Harmonic Synthesizer. Designed by physicist Carl Barus (1856-1935) to study various wave forms. Barus wrote that this wave machine was, "sufficiently comprehensive in design to embody in a single mechanism the types of harmonic motion met with in acoustics, light, electricity and elsewhere, with a clear bearing on their kinematic analysis.... I [believe] the apparatus to be more complete than any similar machine which I have seen, and having, after considerable experience, become assured of its usefulness in class work." Carl Barus, "The Objective Presentation of Harmonic Motion," Science, New Series, 9, no. 220 (17 March 1899): 385-405.
This unit was disassembled for shipping and is stored in sections: one main section with the discs (13.75" h x 33" w x 24" d) and a bundle of connecting rods (8" h x 48" w x 13" d). There is a frame with indicating tines for showing compressional effects with the bundle. The latter is noted as "with coil springs and wires on ends. "y" and perpendicular".
Currently not on view
Object Name
demonstration model
date made
ca 1898
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
from the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Mechanical Integrators and Analyzers
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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