Model of the Zhang Heng seismoscope

Made:
132 CE
designer:
Zhang Heng

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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

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

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

Model of Chang Heng seismoscope, 132AD, cut away to show internal mechanism

The Chinese astronomer, mathematician and seismologist, Zhang Heng (78-139 AD) described the earliest seismoscope known in about 132 AD. Arriving shock waves displace a pendulum linked to a mechanism which opens the jaws of the dragon facing the direction of the earthquake. A ball falls from the dragon's teeth into the mouth of a toad below to record the event.

Details

Category:
Geophysics
Object Number:
1976-107
Materials:
brass and wood
type:
seismoscope
credit:
British Broadcasting Corporation.