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David Brewster, a noted Scottish scientist and inventor, coined the term “kaleidoscope” in 1817 and obtained a British patent on the form. The new instrument was soon popular in parlors and classrooms around the world. This example, with hexagonal tube, came from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. It may date from around 1846 when the state issued a charter to the Collegiate Department of the Hamilton Literary & Theological Institution, the precursor institution.
Ref: David Brewster, “new optical instrument called the ‘Kaleidoscope’ for exhibiting and creating beautiful Forms and Patterns of great use in all the ornamental Arts,” British patent #4136 (July 1817).
David Brewster, Treatise on the Kaleidoscope (Edinburgh, 1819).
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overall: 2 3/8 in x 2 3/4 in x 9 13/16 in; 6.0325 cm x 6.985 cm x 24.92375 cm
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Colgate University
Science & Scientific Instruments
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
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National Museum of American History
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