Energy & Power
The Museum's collections on energy and power illuminate the role of fire, steam, wind, water, electricity, and the atom in the nation's history. The artifacts include wood-burning stoves, water turbines, and windmills, as well as steam, gas, and diesel engines. Oil-exploration and coal-mining equipment form part of these collections, along with a computer that controlled a power plant and even bubble chambers—a tool of physicists to study protons, electrons, and other charged particles.
A special strength of the collections lies in objects related to the history of electrical power, including generators, batteries, cables, transformers, and early photovoltaic cells. A group of Thomas Edison's earliest light bulbs are a precious treasure. Hundreds of other objects represent the innumerable uses of electricity, from streetlights and railway signals to microwave ovens and satellite equipment.
- This Spectra-Physics model 1077 "Level-Eye" laser light detector was made in the early 1980s. After setting-up a laser-emitter a construction worker could use this detector to take readings and check for level on a job site. The unit has both a visual display and an audible tone to tell the worker when the detector is centered on the signal. It has two accuracy settings, plus or minus 1/8 of an inch or 1/16 of an inch.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Spectra-Physics Scanning Systems, Inc.
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- National Museum of American History