Magnetic toy by George Adams

George Adams

Magnetic toy demonstration device made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1765. Consisting of two mahogany boxes. One contains 4 dials with the numbers: 1, 5, 6 and 7 in each - situated beneath sliding lid with square window revealing one number per dial. The second box contains 4 ebony blocks numbered 1, 7, 6, 5, each slightly trapezoid in shape. Both boxes have hinged lids with 2 metal catches at the front.

This toy was a demonstration device made by George Adams, instrument maker to King George III. It was used to demonstrate magnetism. If the box containing the windows was placed above the box containing the ebony pieces, the numbers in the windows corresponded to the numbers below on the ebony pieces. This is because the paper dials under the windows carry concealed magnets which align themselves with concealed magnets in the ebony pieces.

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Science Museum: Science City

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King George III
Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), ebony (wood), glass, mahogany (wood), paper (fibre product), steel (metal), wood (unidentified)
1st box: 22 mm x 352 mm x 70 mm, , .2kg
2nd box: 16 mm x x , , .15kg
physics demonstration equipment
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
King's College, London

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