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Object, Instrument, Technology

Flame manometer

Authors
Rudolph, Koenig, Rudolph Koenig, Inventor
Date(s)
Date of
construction
1862
Details

The manometric flame apparatus was developed by Rudolph Koenig in 1862, and was used throughout the field of acoustics prior to the 20th-century advancement of more precise methods of examining the shape of sound waves, such as the phonodeik or modern oscilloscopes.

Flame manometer by Max Kohl
Fig. 1: Flame manometer by Max Kohl

In this device, a sound wave is captured by a cone, which connects to one side of an enclosed capsule. The capsule is bisected by a rubber diaphragm. On the other side, flammable gas is flowing upward to supply the flame. The rubber diaphragm acts as a modulator for the gas flow, causing the height of the flame to change with the pressure variations in the sound.

Diagram of a flame manometer
Fig. 2: Diagram of a flame manometer

The collection of letters of the Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University, contains a letter from Rudolph Koenig to A. A. Michelson, 1883, explaining (in French) how to replace the rubber membrane inside the flame manometer.

Illustration of two manometric traces, from ut3 and ut4 flames; the bottom trace has twice the frequency of the top. From Koenig’s Acoustic Catalogue, 1865.
Fig. 3: Illustration of two manometric traces, from ut3 and ut4 flames; the bottom trace has twice the frequency of the top. From Koenig’s Acoustic Catalogue, 1865

Text & figures by Brian Tinker, republished with the kind permission of Case Western Reserve University and William Fickinger, Prof Emeritus of Physics.

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