Object, Instrument, Technology

In 1868, Henri-Victor Régnault described an apparatus for determining the speed of sound, capable of accurately measuring time intervals to fractions of a second.

Object, Instrument, Technology

The Fourier analyzer, which was called by Rudolph Koenig an “Analyzer of the timbre of sounds”, is a large device (about 36 inches tall) for simultaneously observing several components of a sound.

Object, Instrument, Technology

A windchest is a wooden box that holds air to be delivered to organ pipes, which are inserted in valved holes. These two examples were used in lectures to demonstrate the different characteristics of organ pipes of varying sizes and shapes.

Object, Instrument, Technology

The Case Collection of Physics Instruments (CCPI) has several dozen forks mounted on resonance boxes (see Fig. 1).

Object, Instrument, Technology

A tonometer consists of a series of steel cylinders that resonate at specific frequencies upon being struck with a metal hammer. They are used as standards for high frequencies, in the same manner as tuning forks. The transverse vibrational frequencies (i.e. fundamental and harmonics) of a given cylinder depend on the length, elastic modulus, and linear density of the metal.

Object, Instrument, Technology

The fork-clock was first described by N. Niaudet in 1866. It is used to determine the frequency of a fork to high accuracy. The vibrating fork drives the clock in the same way as a pendulum in a pendulum clock–by way of an escapement mechanism. This Max Kohl clock uses a 100 Hz fork to drive a tiny escapement. Energy is provided by an enclosed wind-up spring. The three dials record the total number of vibrations. The absolute frequency of the fork can then be determined by comparison with an astronomical time standard.

Object, Instrument, Technology

The double siren is an instrument that produces sounds from two sources in a way that allows the phase of one sound to be changed relative to that of the other. It is capable of producing everything in the range of a half-tone to an octave. A double siren consists of two coaxial Dove sirens—disks rotating at high speed. As air flows through a series of holes in each disk, a distinct tone is produced, the frequency of which depends on the rotational speed of the disk, and the spacing of the holes in the disk.

Object, Instrument, Technology

Invented by John Shore in 1711, the tuning fork was initially used by musicians. After Chladni’s studies of its vibrations, however, it was also extensively employed by acousticians, who praised the purity of its sound. Hermann von Helmholtz, especially, based his experiments with beats, combination tones, and simple tones on tuning forks attached to resonators that enhanced their suitability for experimentation.

Location

After coming to Paris in 1851, Rudolph Koenig trained with the violin maker Vuillaume until 1858, when he launched his own instrument-making business at Place Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Koenig’s workshop participated in Paris’s flourishing activities in scientific research and instrument-making from the 1830s to the 1880s. More specifically, it contributed to the development of acoustics as an independent field of research.

Object, Instrument, Technology

(The following description is from a “Description of Appunn’s Tonnemeters,” by Alexander J. Ellis, F.R.S., &c.; MS in the Western Galleries of the South Kensington Museum, 1880. With the tonometers. Science Museum technical file T/1876-466. The note was written by Alexander J.