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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.
Coalbrookdale by Night
Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg
Coalbrookdale by Night by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1801. Oil on canvas in gilt frame. Signed and dated bottom right. Exhibited as 'A View of Colebrook Dale by night' at the Royal Academy London in 1801. It shows the Bedlam furnaces at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, with flames and smoke billowing from the centre of the picture. The picturesque gorge landscape to either side is lit by moonlight, and figures hurry in the foreground to transport raw materials and iron pigs.
Arkwright's Water Frame, 1775
Improved spinning machine (water frame), by Sir Richard Arkwright, England, 1775.
Marine Timekeeper known as 'H5' by John Harrison and Son 1770
Silver pair-cased verge escapement marine timekeeper, known as H5, by John Harrison & Son, London. White enamel dial with gold central star to adjust hands. Verge escapement with Harrison’s special diamond pallets. Steel balance and spring. Fusee. Maintaining power. 7 1/2 seconds remontoir on 4th wheel. All wheels from the 3rd, jewelled. Long bimetallic strip on adjustable frame. Original key and starting pin. Signed ‘John Harrison & Son London 1770 No. 2’. Case hallmarked for 1768 – 9 and stamped ‘HT’ (probably Henry Taylor who became a free Clockmaker in 1746). With original mahogany carrying case and three silk cushions.
'Puffing Billy' locomotive
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
Locomotive 'Puffing Billy'. Driving wheel diameter 3 feet 3 inches; cylinders 9 inches x 36 inches; working pressure 50lb; weight approximately 8 tons, exclusive of tender.
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.
Arkwright's prototype spinning machine, 1769.
Original spinning machine, Sir Richard Arkwright and John Kay, England, 1769.
Maudslay 's Lord Chancellor bench micrometer
Micrometer made by Henry Maudslay about 1805.
Davy Safety lamp
Mining & Ore Dressing
Safety lamp invented by Humphry Davy in 1815. One of the first two to be used in a coal mine. A gauze chimney over a brass lamp.
Marine chronometer by John Arnold and Son, 1787-1799
Two-day marine chronometer (No 63) by John Arnold and Son, Cornhill, London, 1787-1799.
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.
Machine-Screw thread making tool, by Henry Maudslay
Hand and Machine Tools
Tool for originating screw threads, made by Henry Maudslay, 1800-1805
Double-dialled longcase clock from Park Green Mill
Double dialled longcase clock from Park Green Mill, Macclesfield, made by E. Hartley, Macclesfield, c. 1810, includes clock and belts, pulleys and lineshafting.
Refracting telescope with achromatic lens, made by the Dollond family
Achromatic refracting telescope for terrestrial use, with an optical lens diameter of 1.4 inches, and focal length 30 inches, by Dollond, London, 1760-1775
Original preparation of quinine
Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Original preparation of quinine by Pelletier and Caveton, 1820
Old Spitalfields hand loom with jacquard mechanism
Old Spitalfields hand loom with jacquard mechanism.
Watt's end measuring machine
Watt's end measuring instrument with micrometer screw,1776; probably the first screw micrometer made.
‘Visual glasses’ designed by Benjamin Martin
Horn and steel bow spectacles in red shagreen case (now faded). Designed by Benjamin Martin in 1756 and termed ‘Visual Glasses’. The distinctive thick-rimmed design and violet or green tinted lenses (which do not survive in this example) were ridiculed by some contemporaries but ultimately proved popular and were copied by other makers. Thus the maker of this pair is unknown. Martin used the glasses as his trademark; an image of them appears on his trade cards and receipts.
Reflecting telescope by William Herschel
Newtonian reflecting telescope with 6 1/8-inch diameter speculum mirror of 7-foot focal length with mahogany tube and altazimuth stand; includes accessories and a pamphlet of directions for use. Telescope made by Herschel for his friend Sir William Watson in Bath, 1783-1785.
'Haystack' Boiler, 1775-1799
1775-1799 (original); 1900-1907 (model)
Model, scale 1:12, of balloon or haystack boiler
Clock movement for Shelton regulator clock
Movement for regulator clock with dead beat escapement, inverted grid iron pendulum with steel knife edge pivot on an agate plate and bubble level. Originally made by John Shelton, Shoe Lane, London, 1768-9, with later modifications.
Copy of Chamberlen obstetric forceps
Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Copy of obstetric forceps, invented and used by Chamberlen
'Dr Syntax and his wife making an experiment in pneumatics', print, London, England, 1820
Aquatint, col. 'Dr Syntax and his Wife Making an experiment in Pneumatics'. Plate  from 'Dr. Syntax in Paris' [W Combe, 1820]. platemark 15x23cm, image 11x19cm. Caricature, scene dancing in drawing room, Nooth? chemical apparatus on lower left. In frame 29.5x35.5x1.5cm
Barograph clock by Alexander Cumming
Barograph clock made by Alexander Cumming (1731 or 1732-1814), London, England, 1766. It consists of a compensated pendulum regulator clock and a mercury barograph mechanism for measuring changes in air pressure, which are recorded on the circular paper chart around the outside of the dial. Two tubes of mercury are concealed in the fluted wooden columns visible inside the glass trunk door. An ivory cistern and a wood and ivory pen cage run in ivory rollers connecting the pressure-measuring mechanism to the recording dial. The clock is housed in an exuberant carved mahogany case believed to be by the esteemed cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale. Originally used by Cumming himself, the barograph clock was purchased in around 1814 and used by manufacturing chemist and meteorologist, Luke Howard (1772-1864).
King George III
Hindley's pyrometer and three expansion tubes made by Henry Hindley, York, 1752.
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.
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.
Richard Grindall's combined knife and fork, Europe, 1795-1820
Admiral Grindall's knife and fork
Atmospheric Engine by John Smeaton, 1772
1772 (original); 1919 (model)
working model, sectioned, scale 1:12, John Smeaton's atmospheric engine at Long Benton Colliery, 1772
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.
Ebony and brass octant.
Octant signed ‘Watkins Charing Cross London’, made c. 1800. Ebony frame and limb, brass index arm and fittings, inlaid ivory plates on the crossbar and the back of the frame. The fouled anchor stamp was applied to instruments divided on a dividing engine; in this case either that of Jesse Ramsden (indicated by initials IR) or his apprentice Edward Pritchard (indicated by initials EP). The tangent screw is on the front of the index arm; the clamping screw is on the back. Three socket shades (two red, one green). Index-glass adjustment by screw; adjustment of the horizon glasses by screws, and by levers, wing nuts and milled clamping screws. The sight vane has two pinholes and a swivelling shade (red); the back sight vane has one pinhole. An ivory-capped pencil is fitted in the crossbar. No box.
Painting. [Mrs. Sage] / artist unknown, 1785. Oil on canvas, 77x 63cm or 92 x 78.5 x 11 cm in gilt frame. Portrait, HL, of Mrs. Letitia Ann Sage, 'The first English female aerial traveller' in Lunardi's balloon ascent of 29 June 1785; with balloon motif. Head, bust, white fur mantle, hat and half-veil. aeronaut/balloonist
Stanhope square demonstrator, c.1805.
Stanhope Demonstrator, an instrument for performing logical operations designed by Charles Stanhope.
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.
Two Guillotine blades
Two Guillotine blades and plinth, unsigned, French, 1790-1794. Used at the execution of Jean-Baptiste Carrier in 1794.
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.
Wax anatomical figure of reclining woman
Anatomy & Pathology
Main body of wax anatomical model of reclining woman with removable internal organs, probably from Florence, late 18th century
Trevithick's model road locomotive engine
Trevithick's original model road locomotive engine, unsigned, British, 1796-1802. This model is possibly constructed by either Richard Trevithick, or Whitehead & Co., of Manchester.
Section of lightning conductor from St Paul’s cathedral
Iron bar which formed one section of the lightning conductor installed on St. Paul’s cathedral, London, in 1769, as recommended by a Royal Society committee. This bar remained in place until 1899.
'Bell-crank' engine, c. 1799
Model Boulton & Watt bell crank engine, c. 1799. The bell-crank engine design was devised for Boulton & Watt by William Murdock, one of their employees. It was the first 'independent' (self-supporting) engine to be built.
Cuff-type compound microscope
Cuff type compound microscope by Dollond, English, circa 1800
George III's cycloidal pendulum
King George III
Cycloidal pendulum made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, England, 1762
Pair of Tongs
James Watt's Garret Workshop
Pair of tongs from James Watt's workshop, 1790-1819.
Celestial globe by George Adams
King George III
Celestial globe on mahogany tripod stand with compass and ctagonal glazed mahogany case made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1766. Inscribed 'Made by G. ADAMS Fleet Street LONDON' on the compass.
Part of electrostatic telegraph, 1816
Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816
Thin-walled square glass bottle
King George III
One of nine thin-walled square glass bottles, five sealed with cork stoppers and wax, two unsealed and two with brass fixtures, made by George Adams, Fleet Street, London, 1761.
Equal size sculpture copying machine
James Watt's Garret Workshop
1 Equal sculpture machine described as the eidograph or copying machine, consisting of wooden stand with treadle motion supporting two heads one for the copy and the other for the work. A blanced frame with feeler and cutters commands the heads. 1 Stool
Demainbray's model of a camera obscura
King George III
Model demonstrating the principle of a camera obscura, unknown maker, 1752, but once belonged to Stephen Demainbray.
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.