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Arkwright's water frame, 1775.
Improved spinning machine (water frame), by Sir Richard Arkwright, England, 1775.
Napier's Bones, c.1690.
Set of Napier's rods in boxwood case John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, also invented this aid to calculation known as 'Napier's Bones' in 1617. The 'bones' consist of a set of rectangular rods, each marked with a counting number at the top, and the multiples of that number down their lengths. When aligned against the row of multiples as shown, any multiple of the top number can be read off from right to left by adding the digits in each parallelogram in the appropriate row. Multiplication is thus reduced to addition.
Rotative steam engine by Boulton and Watt, 1788.
Boulton and Watt Rotative Beam Engine - the 'Lap' engine. This is the oldest essentially unaltered rotative engine in the world. Built by James Watt in 1788, it incorporates all of his most important steam-engine improvements. The engine was used at Matthew Boulton’s Soho Manufactory in Birmingham, where it drove 43 metal polishing (or ‘lapping’) machines for 70 years.
Dental pelican for tooth pulling
Dental pelican, double ended, with 2 claws, steel, European, 1701-1800
Glass female urinal, Europe, 1701-1800
Public Health & Hygiene
Glass female urinal, in the form of an erect penis and testicles, possibly 18th century
Ivory dildo, possibly French, 1701-1800
Ivory dildo, in the form of an erect penis, complete with contrivance for simulating ejaculation, possibly French, 1701-1800
Arkwright's Water Frame
Water frame, water powered spinning machine made by Richard Arkwright, Cromford, c.1775, and used at the Arkwright Mills at Matlock Bath.
Islamic planispheric astrolabe in brass, diameter 25 cm, with rete, two plates, alidade, alidade, pin and horse, made by Jamal al-Din ibn Muquin, at Lahore, Pakistan, in 1077 AH (= 1666-7 CE). Inside of mater shows map locating Mecca with qibla of 17 locations. Zoomorphic characters on rete.
Small orrery by Benjamin Martin
Small orrery on mahogany stand by Benjamin Martin, England, mid-18th century. The orrery shows seven planets (to Uranus), but Uranus is thought to be a later addition.
Arkwright's prototype spinning machine, 1769.
Original spinning machine, Sir Richard Arkwright and John Kay, England, 1769.
1749 - 1823
1749-1823, physician; surgeon; pioneer of smallpox vaccination, British; English
Isaac Newton’s reflecting telescope (replica)
Replica of Newton's first reflecting telescope made in 1668 and now in the possession of the Royal Society of London. Made for the Science Museum in 1924 by Mr F.L. Agate
Robert Hooke type microscope
Compound microscope designed by Robert Hooke, 1671-1700 and thought to have been made by Christopher Cock, Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, but not signed. Part of an accessory for manipulating specimens has survived and the objective lens is a modern replacement made in 1965.
Pocket watch by Thomas Tompion
Pocket watch with cylinder escapement and tortoiseshell case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, between 1675 and 1700. Inscribed 'T. Tompion London 3' on the movement and inscribed 'Graham' on the dial.
Whole model, full rigged, of ship of the line, H.M.S. 'Prince'
Contemporary whole rigged (rigged in Museum) model, scale 1:48, of English 1st rate ship of the line of 100/90 guns HMS 'Prince' (1670), showing hull construction method, designed by Peter Pett and made by Chatham Dockyard,
Early balance spring watch by Thomas Tompion
Early balance spring pocket watch in silver case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, England, 1675-79. The watch features an unusual dial showing minutes on the main dial and two subsidiary dials for the hours (in the upper position) and seconds (in the lower position). The subsidiary dial for hours indicates up to six hours in each cycle.
Theodolite used for the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain
Main part of three-foot geodetic theodolite, sometimes called the ‘great Theodolite’, used for the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain. Made by Jesse Ramsden, Piccadilly, London, 1791.
Silver microscope by George Adams, c. 1761.
Silver ‘Universal Double Microscope’ with ornate decoration by George Adams the Elder, Fleet Street, London, c. 1763. The drawer in the base contains several accessories: an alternative eyepiece and eye cap, a stand for the jointed arm, three sets of objectives, talc discs for slides, a fishplate with a glass slide attached, three magnifiers, a pair of stage forceps, a live box, a pair of tweezers and a nosepiece.
Rawhide bag for storing cinchona bark
Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Bag for cinchona bark, known as a Seron, rawhide, brought from Peru, by the expedition of Ruiz and Pavon, 1777, with contents
Moon globe by John Russell;England;1797
Moon globe 12-inch in diameter on libration stand, by John Russell, R.A., London, England, 1797. Known as ‘Selenographia’, the globe shows the nearside of the Moon visible from Earth. It has a mechanical mounting which demonstrates lunar libration, and which also features a miniature terrestrial globe.
Ornamental turning 'rose-engine' lathe
Hand and Machine Tools
Ornamental turning 'rose-engine' lathe, unsigned, Germany, c. 1740
Lancet owned by Edward Jenner
Public Health & Hygiene
Lancet belonging to Jenner, probably used for vaccination, by Savigny and Co., 1701-1800, English
Print of Henry Beighton's Engraving of a Newcomen Engine
Framed print of Henry Beighton's Engraving of the Newcomen Engine at Griff, 1717, Henry Beighton, England, 1717-1725. This engraving (the original of which was discovered in Worcester College, Oxford, in 1925) is the oldest known illustration of a Newcomen engine.
Orrery made for the Earl of Orrery
Orrery or planetary model, c. 1712, made for Charles Boyle, the fourth Earl of Orrery by John Rowley, Fleet Street, London. The instrument was copied from one made by George Graham, and termed ‘orrery’ after its purchaser.
Watt's end measuring machine
Watt's end measuring instrument with micrometer screw,1776; probably the first screw micrometer made.
Silver vinaigrette in the shape of a skull
Silver vinaigrette in the form of a skull, hinged, opens into two halves, with a perforated silver gilt inner lid, engraved with initials, unsigned, Europe, 1701-1800
Silver pair-cased astronomical watch
Silver pair-cased watch with astronomical indications. The matted dial plate is gilded and engraved with cherubs and has two applied silver dials. The lower dial, with blued steel hand, has a pierced centre and indicates the hours. The upper dial comprises a fixed silver ring showing the day of the month with a silver turning disc and pointer inside. The disc has five circles; the outer circle indicates the signs of the zodiac, the second the months, the third and fourth have a series of figures and the fifth shows the length of month. Also shown in separate apertures on the dial plate are indications for day of the week, moon phase and age, and high tides. Signed 'Nathan Barrow London'on the movement, but partially obscured by the balance cock and silver regulator. These appear to be later than the rest of the watch, which may have originally been made without a balance-spring. Verge escapement and three-wheel train.
Trade card: John Yarwell, St Paul's Church yard, London, 1683 (photograph) (Calv. 462)
George III's philosophical table
King George III
Philosophical table made for King George III by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1761-62. A pillar in three pieces, two wooden rings and wooden nut; vertical board with ivory scale (one fixing screw and washer missing) and backing board for pendulum experiments are attached.
Culpeper microscope with boxfoot made by George Adams in 1738
Sextant by Jesse Ramsden
Brass sextant by Jesse Ramsden, Piccadilly, London, 1770-75. Sextant has polished brass 120° scale (-2° to 136°) with 20’ divisions and brass vernier (30”), three index-filter shades (red & green), one horizon filter (red) and ‘Maskelyne flap’ for greater accuracy when taking a sight of the Sun or Moon. Fitted with threaded telescope bracket for sighting telescope (130mm –inverted image). The instrument has its original fitted mahogany keystone case.
wheel cutting machine
Hand and Machine Tools
Early clock-wheel cutting machine made by Humphrey Marsh, England, 1668-1672.
Ornate circumcision knife with ivory handle
Small, ornate circumcision knife with triangular blade and carved, cylindrical ivory handle, c. 1780
'Early 'perpetuelle' watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet
Quarter-repeating, self-winding watch with gold engine-turned case, by Abraham-Louis Breguet c.1783. On the back of the case is a crowned ‘N’. The white enamel dial has Breguet's secret signature. Both dial and case are later replacements by Breguet. Blued steel 'Breguet' hands Cylinder escapement, with no compensation on the balance. Quarter repeating and self-winding. Signed ‘Breguet à Paris 810/83’.
Hand painted Indian cotton fabric
Hand painted cotton fabric sample known as a palampore, made in India around 1700-1800, for export to Europe.
Spring detent watch by John Arnold, used by Ruth Bellville and family to distribute GMT c.1834-1940
Spring detent escapement watch by John Arnold, in a later silver case. White enamel dial with a subsidiary seconds dial and gold spade hands. Jewelled movement with diamond endstone. The original escapement has a later conversion to Earnshaw's spring detent arrangement, and has a later type of two-arm compensation balance. Signed 'John Arnold & Son, London. Invenit & fecit 485/786'. Movement c.1794, case hallmarked for 1840, casemaker's mark 'CBH' and stamped 485.
Small screw-cutting device or fusee engine for clock-maker's use
Hand and Machine Tools
Small screw-cutting device or fusee engine for clock-maker's use, c.1800
Model of a 28 gun frigate
Model, scale 1:48, rigged, of a 28 gun frigate (c.1785), rigged by Science Museum, Workshops 1907, unsigned, England, 1770-1780. Actual ship designed by Sir John Williams, England, United Kingdom.
Morland's calculating machine, engraved "Samuel Morland, Inventor, 1666"
Morland's calculating machine, engraved "Samuel Morland, Inventor, 1666"; in leather box Humphrey Adamson, mathemtical instrument maker active 1668-1676, made the calculating machine invented by Samuel Morland.
Telescope by Christopher Cock
Refracting five-draw telescope made by Christopher Cock, Long Acre, London, 1673. Inscribed ‘Christopher Cock Londini 1673’. The tube is decorated in gold designs on red vellum and features a royal coat of arms.
Demainbray's Newcomen engine model
King George III
Newcomen engine model, maker unknwon, before 1753. Once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
Pharmacy storage jar used for theriac
Pharmacy storage jar, French, Hustin factory, 1725-1775, polychrome, faience, used for theriaca by Carmelites
Satirical print of a failed balloon launch from Foley House, London in 1784
Print (etching with aquatint). Satirical depiction of John Sheldon and Allen Keegan’s failed balloon launch from the gardens of Lord Foley’s house in Portland Place, London, in September 1784. The balloon’s enormous shape is exaggerated to resemble a human bottom from which flames erupt and smoke billows. A much smaller balloon appears to shoot out of the fire, in the form of a grinning head with ass's ears wearing a jester’s cap lettered ‘THE ENGLISH BALLOON 1784’. Spectators watch from the ground and the garden wall as people attempt to bring the situation under control. Lettered underneath the image ‘Caelum ipsum petimus Stultitia’ ['In our foolishness, we reach for the sky itself'], from Horace, Odes 1.3. Designed and etched by Paul Sandby, probably London, 1784.