Newton's Rings Apparatus

Newton's Rings Apparatus

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“Newton’s Rings” refers to the interference pattern created by the reflection of light between a spherical surface and an adjacent flat surface. Robert Hooke mentioned the phenomenon in his Micrographia (London, 1664), and Isaac Newton discussed it at length in his Optics (London, 1704). By the early nineteenth century, Newton’s Rings were routinely included in accounts of natural philosophy.
Joseph Henry, the physicist who served as founding Secretary of the Smithsonian, purchased this example for the Institution. The “Ed LUTZ, Paris” inscription is that of Édouard Lutz, an optical instrument maker who was in business ca. 1870-1896.
Ref: Édouard Lutz, Catalogue des Instrumens d’Optique (Paris, 1872). Here (p. 26), the “Appareil de Newton” cost 20 fr.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Newton's rings apparatus
date made
Lutz, Edouard
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
overall: 2 in x 3 1/8 in x 3 in; 5.08 cm x 7.9375 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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