Chladni Plates

Chladni Plates

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Ernst Chladni (1756-1827) was a German musician who studied the physics of sound. The Chladni Plate, one of his key inventions, was a flat piece of metal covered with a fine layer of sand; when a bow was drawn along one edge of the plate, the sand arranged itself in such a way that the nodal patterns became apparent.
This example consists of two square brass Chladni plates held in an iron clamp. The Smithsonian Institution bought it in the 1860s, probably from Rudolph Koenig in Paris.
Ref: Rudolph Koenig, Catalogue des Appareils d’Acoustique (Paris, 1865), pp. 25-26.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sonorous figure plates
Koenig, Rudolph
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
overall: 4 3/4 in x 11 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in; 12.065 cm x 28.575 cm x 26.67 cm
overall: 4 5/8 in x 10 1/2 in x 10 1/2 in; 11.7475 cm x 26.67 cm x 26.67 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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