Atwood Machine

Atwood Machine

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Description
George Atwood, a mathematics tutor at Trinity College, Cambridge, described this type of instrument in 1784, explaining its use for verifying the laws of motion with constant acceleration. The Atwood machine soon became a common piece of classroom apparatus, suitable for teaching classical mechanics.
This example was used at the U.S. Military Academy. The “Fortin et Herrmann Genre à Paris” inscription refers to Adolphe and Émile Fortin-Herrmann, brothers who, in 1831, took over the shop of their grandfather, Nicholas Fortin, a leading scientific instrument maker in Paris.
Ref: George Atwood, A Treatise on the Rectilinear Motion and Rotation of Bodies, with a Description of Original Experiments Relative to the Subject (Cambridge, 1784).
Daniel Grand, “Notice Nécrologique sur Adolphe et Émile Fortin-Herrmann,” Mémoires et Compte-rendus de la Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France (1908): 692-700.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Atwood Machine
maker
Fortin et Herrmann
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
Measurements
overall (object): 98 1/2 in x 25 3/4 in x 25 3/4 in; 250.19 cm x 65.405 cm x 65.405 cm
overall (in case): 112 in x 35 in x 35 in; 284.48 cm x 88.9 cm x 88.9 cm
ID Number
PH.315758
catalog number
315758
accession number
217544
subject
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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