Newton's Color Disc

Newton's Color Disc

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Description
This mechanical lantern slide has a wooden frame, and a glass disc divided into fourteen (or twice seven) segments, each representing a color of the rainbow; when the disc is rotated rapidly, it appears white.
In the optical experiments that he described to the Royal Society in 1672, Isaac Newton showed that a prism would disperse sunlight into a spectrum, and identified what he deemed the seven basic colors of this spectrum. In his Opticks (London, 1717), Newton discussed the persistence of vision, noting that a burning coal moved quickly in a circle appears as a continuous circle. Newton’s Color Disc combines these two ideas.
Ref: Lorenzo Marcy, The Sciopticon Manual (Philadelphia, 1877), p. 31.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
lantern slide
date made
late nineteenth century
Measurements
overall: 3/4 in x 4 in x 10 in; 1.905 cm x 10.16 cm x 25.4 cm
overall: 1 7/8 in x 3 15/16 in x 10 in; 4.7625 cm x 10.00125 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
PH.330313
catalog number
330313
accession number
287887
subject
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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