Second Law of Motion Apparatus

Second Law of Motion Apparatus

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Alfred Payson Gage (1836-1903) opened America’s first high school physics laboratory, at the Boston English High School, in 1880. He also wrote textbooks that were widely used, and designed simple instruments suitable for students. This Second Law of Motion apparatus was among those instruments. It has a spring hammer that propels one ball and releases another at the same instant. Both balls reach the floor at the same time, although one follows a parabolic arc while the other falls straight down.
A tag on the base of this example reads “Welch Scientific Apparatus / W. M. Welch Mfg. Co. Chicago.”
Ref: Ziegler Electric Co., Priced and Illustrated Catalogue No. 8, of Physical Apparatus and Supplies (Boston, 1896), p. 30.
Central Scientific Co., Physical and Chemical Apparatus (Chicago, 1909), p. 71.
Steven Turner, “The Reluctant Instrument Maker: A. P. Gage and the Introduction of the Student Laboratory,” Rittenhouse 18 (2005): 40-61.
Rufus P. Williams, “Alfred Payson Gage,” School Science 3 (May 1903): 49-52.
Currently not on view
Object Name
motion apparatus
date made
around 1900
Welch Scientific Company
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
overall: 3 5/16 in x 9 1/2 in x 2 11/16 in; 8.41375 cm x 24.13 cm x 6.82625 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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