Nollet electrostatic generator, 1747

Nollet electrostatic generator, 1747

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nollet electrostatic generator. Historical illustration of a machine to generate static electricity, designed in 1747 by French clergyman (Abbe) and physicist Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700-1770). The wheel at right is turned to produce friction by the rotation of the glass globe at left, resulting in an electric charge which is transferred to the woman touching the globe. Devices such as this were used to demonstrate various aspects of electrostatics as entertainment for the wealthy in the salons of 18th-century Europe. Artwork from 'Electricite' (1911) by Max de Nansouty, part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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