Cell used in interruptor circuit, 1875-1890

Made:
1875-1890 in England
maker:
David Edward Hughes

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Small cell (rectangular), probably made by David Edward Hughes, England, 1875-1890.

In 1879 David Edward Hughes (1829/31-1900) was carrying out some experiments with his induction balance. He found that if a circuit was formed by joining up in series a battery, a microphone and one of the coils of his balance, any interruption of the circuit was accompanied by a disturbance which became audible in a telephone receiver connected to another microphone, even when the circuits were widely separated and there was no direct connection between them. It is now known that Hughes had unwittingly discovered electromagnetic radiation, but scientific friends considered the results were due to electromagnetic induction. Discouraged, Hughes did not publish his discoveries and the credit went to Heinrich Hertz some seven years later. This is one of the cells (batteries) used in the interruptor circuit.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1922-226
Materials:
lead (metal), metal (unknown) and wax
type:
battery
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Executors of the late Anna C. Hughes